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    • Sarmaye Bank winner of 2017 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship

      Sarmaye Bank winner of 2017 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship

      Sarmaye Bank winner of 2017 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship

      Sarmaye Bank winner of 2017 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship

      Bank Sarmayeh win Asian Men's Club Championship to secure 2017 World Championship berth

      Bank Sarmayeh from Iran underlined their strength at the “SMM” 2016 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship at the Wunna Thekdi Indoor Stadium in Nay Pyi Taw following a remarkable 3-1 victory over Qatar’s Al-Arabi Sports Club in the final showdown on Wednesday.

      A magnificent come-from-behind 3-1 (24-26, 25-18, 25-16, 25-19) win in a pulsating 102-minute battle handed the Iranians the 11th title in the top-flight tournament, but also a berth to contest at the 2017 edition of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship.

      Paykan Tehran became the first team from Iran to capture the Asian Men’s Club title in 2002 after a fantastic 3-1 win over compatriots Sanam Tehran. Sanam Tehran gave Iran a second title in 2004 before Paykan Tehran won the tournament in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. Kalleh Mazandaran captured a 9th title for Iran at the 2013 edition - which took place in Iran - and Matin Varamin repeated the feat in 2014 in Pasay, the Philippines.

      In a battle of the two unbeaten teams in Wednesday’s showdown between Bank Sarmayeh and Al-Arabi Sports Club, Bank Sarmayeh fielded a strong offensive line-up including Shahram Mahmoudi, Milad Ebadipour Gharah, Farhad Ghaemi, Mohammad Mousavi Eraghi Seyed, Adel Gholami and Poland import setter Lukasz Zygadlo.

      Al-Arabi also had a strong roster comprising Saifeddine Aziz Elmajid, Renan Ribeiro, Serbian Uros Kovacevic, Ahmed Diab, Thiago de Oliveira Guimaraes and Brazil import hard-attacking Leandro Vissotto Neves.

      In the opening set, Al-Arabi started well with strong teamwork and consistency to lead initially 16-12 before stretching that to 24-20, thanks to their well-placed serves and scintillating blocks from Vissotto and Kovacevic. Bank Sarmayeh maintained their poise but Al-Arabi intensified their defence and won a crucial set point at 25-24. Diab hit the ball down to help the Qatari side win the hard-fought set 26-24.

      Conceding one set, the Iranians clawed their way back into the match and played better in the second set to lead 13-10. Shahram was among the top scorers for the Iranian side. With combination attacks and the opponent’s unforced errors, Bank Sarmayeh took a commanding 24-17 lead in the second set and Shahram once again ended their rivals’ challenge with a thundering cross-court spike down on the line. The Iranians clinched the set 25-18.

      The intense battle continued in the third set when the lead changed hands several times. Al-Arabi first took an early 3-0 lead before Iranian coach Mostafa Karkhaneh called a time-out to break the Qatari game.

      After that, the Iranians found their groove as they stormed back aggressively to lead 16-11. Al-Arabi had several unforced service errors. Shahram scored three consecutive points to bring Bank Samayeh back to lead 24-15. The Iranians allowed their rivals one more point before Gholami produced an effective drop. Bank Sarmayeh won the set 25-16 to hold a 2-1 advantage.

      Al-Arabi demonstrated their never-say-die attitude in the fourth set to bounce back gallantly for a 4-1 lead. The Iranians, however, continued to dictate the game and led 24-19 before Milad Ebadipour Gharah produced a sizzling ace to end Al-Arabi’s determined challenge. Bank Sarmayeh captured the set 25-19, winning the match and the championship.

      Shahram Mahmoudi scored a match-high 28 points for Bank Sarmayeh including 22 kills from 42 attempts. He also led the blocking skill with 5 points. Serbian Uros Kovacevic led Al-Arabi Sports Club with 15 points.

      “Before the match, we knew a difficult task awaited us. I told my players this is a very difficult day as Al-Arabi Sports Club are a very good team. But we need to be mentally strong. In the first set, we made some mistakes and after that we showed our good teamwork and we continued together to win the match. I am very happy for our victory and I am very proud of the team,” said Iranian coach Mostafa Karkhaneh.

      Despite his team’s loss, Al-Arabi Sports Club’s coach Lajnef Maaouia expressed his satisfaction with his team’s efforts and praised their opponents for their brilliant performance.

      “At the beginning, we started very well. We put pressure on them with our good serves and they struggled with reception. That’s why we won the set. In the last three sets, they improved their reception and their side-out attacks were very good. We got some problems in the reception zone, so it was very hard for us to beat them. They deserved the win as they have a very good team with strong players. Congratulations to them.”

      Meanwhile, Japan’s Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza defied the odds to stun Shanghai Golden Age from China in a hard-fought five-set thriller 3-2 (25-21, 23-25, 25-19, 17-25, 15-13) to finish third in the tournament.

      Hungarian-born German Gyorgy Grozer top-scored with 23 points for the Chinese side, while Croatia import Igor Omrcen tallied 30 points for Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza.

      “The key to our victory is we played as a team and we never gave up. We know we are not a tall team, but a small one, so we must work hard in every situation and all the six players thought the same. I studied and prepared for this match well after Tuesday’s match against Al-Arabi Sports Club, the team we lost to. We had to try to serve hard to give the Chinese a big problem. I am really happy for my team’s victory,” said Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza’s head coach Swede Anders Kristiansson, who has been coaching the Japanese team for over three years.

      In the 5th-6th place playoff, Altay VC struggled to beat Taiwan power in four sets 3-1 (25-22, 21-25, 25-21, 25-20).

      Maxim Michshenko emerged as the top scorer with 25 points for Altay Vc while Chen Po Hung scored 13 points for Taiwan Power.

      Earlier, Maseco TPHCM avenged a loss to Asia World Club in the preliminary round pool play to stun the home side in dramatic four sets 3-1 (25-22, 29-27, 17-25, 26-24) in 103 minutes. Maseco TPHCM took seventh place, with Asia World Club taking eighth. Altay VC from Kazakhstan pulled off an impressive 3-1 (25-22, 21-25, 25-21, 25-20) victory over Taiwan Power of Chinese Taipei in the 5th-6th place playoff.


      WEDNESDAY’S FINAL RESULTS
      7th-8th PLAYOFF
      Maseco TPHCM (Vietnam) b Asia World Club (Myanmar) 3-1 (25-22, 29-27, 17-25, 26-24)

      5th-6th PLAYOFF
      Altay VC (Kazakhstan) b Taiwan Power (Chinese Taipei) 3-1 (25-22, 21-25, 25-21, 25-20)

      BRONZE MEDAL MATCH
      Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza (Japan) b Shanghai Golden Age (China) 3-2 (25-21, 23-25, 25-19, 17-25, 15-13)

      CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
      Bank Sarmayeh (Iran) b Al-Arabi Sports Club (Qatar) 3-1 (24-26, 25-18, 25-16, 25-19)

      FINAL STANDINGS
      1. Bank Sarmayeh (Iran) - qualified for 2017 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship
      2. Al-Arabi Sports Club (Qatar)
      3. Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza (Japan)
      4. Shanghai Golden Age (China)
      5. Altay VC (Kazakhstan)
      6. Taiwan Power (Chinese Taipei)
      7. Maseco TPHCM (Vietnam)
      8. Asia World Club (Myanmar)
      9. Polri Samator (Indonesia)
      10. Gas Al Janoob (Iraq)
      11. Wing 46-Phitsanulok (Thailand)
      12. Al Jazira Club (UAE)
      13. Malaysia
      14. Hong Kong
      15. Ne11i (Turkmenistan)

      INDIVIDUAL AWARDS
      BEST OPPOSITE
      No.11 Shanghai Golden Age (China) - Gyorgy Grozer
      BEST OUTSIDE SPIKERS
      No.6 Al-Arabi Sports Club (Qatar) - Uros Kovacevic
      No.2 Bank Sarmayeh (Iran) - Milad Ebadipour Gharah
      BEST MIDDLE BLOCKERS
      No.13 Al-Arabi Sports Club (Qatar) - Leandro Vissotto Neves
      No.6 Bank Sarmayeh (Iran) - Mohammad Mousavi Eraghi Seyed
      BEST LIBERO
      No.10 Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza (Japan) - Koichiro Koga
      BEST SETTER
      No.13 Bank Sarmayeh (Iran) - Mehdi Mahdavi
      MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
      No.1 Bank Sarmayeh (Iran) Shahram Mahmoudi

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