KARACHI: Pakistan on Sunday finished at the seventh place when they downed former four-time champions South Korea in straight sets in their 7th place fixture of the 21st Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship in Japan.
Meanwhile, Iran defended the title, winning their overall fourth crown, when they defeated hosts Japan 3-0 in a tough final. The set scores were 27-25, 25-22 and 31-29.
Both Iran and Japan made it to the World Championships to be held in Russia in 2022.
The Pakistan-South Korea outing was also tough with both sides showing resolve in all departments of the game. After winning the first two sets 25-23 and 25-15, Pakistan faced tough time from South Korea in the third set but eventually the Green-shirts were able to grab that 28-26 to seal a straight win.
This was the second time in this tournament that Pakistan downed South Korea in straight sets.
Pakistan remained a highly unpredictable side in the event. Playing under the newly-hired Iranian coach Rahman Mohammadirad Pakistan opened their journey with two back-to-back wins against Thailand and Hong Kong in the preliminaries to make it to the quarter-finals stage. Pakistan ended as runners-up in their Group B after they lost to holders Iran in their last league game in straight sets.
In the quarter-finals, Pakistan lost to Chinese Taipei 3-1 in a game which kept fluctuating. In the fourth set, Pakistan had 18-14 lead but they failed to keep that intact which cost them dearly. This also put Pakistan out of the semi-finals race.
In the second game of the quarter-finals, Pakistan demolished South Korea 3-0.
In the 5th to 8th place semi-finals, the Green-shirts tasted a 0-3 defeat at the hands of former champions Australia. This correspondent has learnt that coach Mohammadirad mostly opted to use the young lot who failed to tackle the pressure situations and made some mistakes in close sets which hurt the team’s cause.
It was expected that Pakistan would at least finish fifth or sixth which could have been a good achievement.
Meanwhile, former three-time champions China overwhelmed Chinese Taipei 3-0 to finish third in the 16-team event. The set scores were 25-17, 2516, 25-17. Chinese Taipei ended fourth.
Qatar defeated Australia 3-0 to end their journey at fifth place. The set scores were 25-11, 25-11, 25-23.
Australia wrapped-up their journey at the sixth spot.
India finished 9th when they defeated Bahrain 3-2 after a tough clash with the set scores of 25-16, 25-23, 20-25, 23-25 and 16-14. Bahrain ended tenth.
In the 11th place show, Kazakhstan defeated Saudi Arabia 3-0 with the set scores being 25-16, 25-20, 25-23.
In the 13th place game, Uzbekistan breezed past Hong Kong 3-0 with the set scores of 25-20, 25-23 and 25-21.
In the 15th place clash, Thailand defeated Kuwait 3-1 with the set scores being 25-16, 21-25, 25-22, 25-20.
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