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September 20, 2019

Asian Seniors Men’s Volleyball Championship: Pakistan blow 2-0 lead in quarter-final loss to Australia


September 20, 2019

KARACHI: Pakistan on Thursday went 2-3 down to Australia despite taking a 2-0 lead in the quarter-final of the 20th Asian Seniors Men’s Volleyball Championship in Tehran.

With the outcome, Pakistan will now face China in the 5th to 8th place semi-finals on Friday (today). Pakistan took a golden start when they lifted the first two sets 25-21, 25-21 to put pressure on Australia, one of the strongest sides of the event.

However, Australia re-grouped at this stage, retaliated strongly and went on to sweep the next three sets 25-18, 25-14 and 15-13 to record a sensational win. In other quarter-finals, South Korea defeated India 3-1, Japan overwhelmed China 3-1 while Iran’s and Chinese Taipei’s match was in progress till the filing of the story.

In the classification round, Pakistan lost both of their matches against Japan and Chinese Taipei on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Pakistan-Australia quarter-final turned out to be the most gripping one. According to information forwarded by Pakistan Volleyball Federation (PVF), Pakistan and Australia were locked at 13-13 in the fifth set when Zaheer’s one shot went off, otherwise it would have been a game point.

“After winning the first two sets, Australians’ serves were not taken well. Unluckily, the main setter Asif had a back injury and could not perform well. The other setter Kashif played well in the first two sets but was off-colour in the next three sets,” PVF said.

“Today Pakistan performed very well in the quarter-final as they were playing against the top team of Asia which came to Iran for the event after featuring in the World League,” it added. “In the event in Tehran, Australia had defeated world’s fifth-place team Iran 3-1 and this shows that Pakistan’s performance was good,” the federation said.

“Pakistan need confidence to win big matches. This requires more international matches but the shortage of finances is a great hindrance in the way,” the PVF said. Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) has given Rs3million to the PVF for the tour. However, the PVF said that the visit costed the federation around Rs5million.

“The federation is yet to pay for the tickets of the tour. The contract of the Korean coach Kim, who has done a great job, is being expired in a few days and the PVF does not have anything in its exchequer to pay him anymore. His services are required for the South Asian Games which will be hosted by Nepal from December 1-10 and the Olympic qualifiers in China in January,” the PVF said.

The top eight teams from the Asian Championships, which also include Pakistan, have already confirmed their berths in the Olympic qualifiers. “Pakistan have the potential to win in Asia and at the world level. The country is brimming with immense talent. It has a big pool of talented youth but they need proper grooming through coaching and international exposure,” the federation added.

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