Iran underlined their supremacy over the 1st Asian Men’s U16 Volleyball Championship after comeback 3-1 win against hosts Uzbekistan in thrilling final showdown for their historic title with remarkable unbeaten record at Hall 1 inside Yunusobod Sports Complex in Tashkent on Saturday.
The curtain came down on this inaugural continental championship on Saturday which served as the Asia’s qualification tournament for the 2024 FIVB Volleyball Boys’ U17 World Championship. Iran, Uzbekistan and Chinese Taipei made the top three podium to secure their berths in the next year’s world meet.
Over 2,000 local enthusiasts thronged into the competition venue to support their team in the final clash against the formidable Iranians, who struggled hard to beat the well-established Chinese Taipei in hard-fought five-set thriller in the semifinals the previous day.
Against Uzbekistan, the team they had already beaten 3-1 in the Top 8 Pool E encounter earlier, in the Saturday’s showdown, Iran remained strong offensively and defensively with the likes of Khoshhaldashliboroun Mohammadraouf, Faraj Pour Amirali and Mohseni Bababdani Taha, the three musketeers who were instrumental in helping lift the team’s victory against Chinese Taipei. The host side were strengthened by hard-hitting Haydarov Ogabek.
Uzbekistan, riding the momentum and the inspiration coming from the cheering home fans, made a solid start in the first set and were incredibly dominant throughout the thrilling game for the 25-19 win.
However, the hosts’ delight of the first-set win was short-lived as after that, Iran put their acts together and roared back aggressively with effective blocks from Mohseni and great serves from Mohammad and Mostafa to capture the remaining three sets 25-22, 25-16, 25-22 for the match and the eventual title.
The Iranians’ dominance was partly visible in the match stats. Although both sides had the similar 42 attack points, Uzbekistan fared much better in blocks (9 to Iran’s 4). However, Iran got the most aces with 10 including 5 from Khoshhaldashliboroun Mohammadraouf, while the hosts produced only 3 service winners. The Iranians also benefited from more opponent errors (38 to 31).
Sedaghat Mostafa delivered 16 points from 13 attacks and 3 aces for Iran, while Khoshhaldashliboroun Mohammadraouf and Abdollahifar Kamyab kept good company to add another 13 and 11 points respectively. Haydarov Ogabek scored a match-high 19 points including 18 attacks from…