Iran dominates in Asian Volleyball

Kolkata: Poor defence proved costly for
defending champions India as Iran dominated all round to
clinch the title with a straight set win in the third Asian
Senior Men`s Volleyball Championship (Central Zone) at Netaji
Indoor Stadium courts here on Monday.

Fielding their second string side with the top side
preparing for the World Championship, Iran settled the issue
in 83 minutes with a 25-19, 25-22, 29-27 scoreline.

The Indians, who dished out a power-packed performance
yesterday against Iran, could not match up with them in speed
and clinical smashes and failed to retain the title they had
won in the last year`s edition in Islamabad.

The hosts gave Iranians some fight in the third set
which stretched to 32 minutes, but it was too little and too

Powerful smashes by Ahmad Babaei and Vali
Nourmohammadi helped Iran maintain a six-point lead in the
first set they clinched 25-19.

Iran gifted a India few points through unforced
errors, but never really seemed in trouble to take the first
set in 24 minutes.

Sube Singh and G Pradeep impressed with accurate
smashings, but India were let down by their libero Kanagaraj,
who was erratic with ball control and passing.

Indian captain Sanjay Kumar, who was the best scorer
in the historic bronze medal win in the Asian Cup last month,
was offcolour and was replaced midway into the second set.

In the second set, India tried to make amends, but the
fragile defence was not up to the mark.

Iran had a narrow three-point lead at the second
technical timeout, but smart blocking and a coordinated effort
denied going past them.

The best chance for India in the second set came when
they were trailing 16-17, but Iran stood tall with better
marking and attacking to win in 27 minutes.

India`s Asian Cup captain Gurchand Singh, who
impressed in the win over Pakistan yesterday, was marked by
the Iranians and he failed to make his presence felt.

Iran conceded too many points through unforced errors
in the third set that helped India take a three-point lead
(16-13) till the second technical time out.

India led, but struggled to get the match point with
poor blocking and defence as Iran took 29-27 to emerge