IRAN Matin Varamin started its title defense going with a 25-18, 21-25, 25-13, 25-22 win over Japan Otia Miyoshi Weisse Adler on Wednesday in the Asian Men's Volleyball Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Seyed Mohammad Mousavi E. led the Iranians with 13 points, while Mostafa Sharifat added 12, and team captain Mir Saeid Marouf L. and Pourya Fayazi D. chipped in 11 markers, each.
Iran joined Lebanon Zahraa Al Minaa in the early lead in Pool B.
“This is what I expected,” said Iran coach Daniele Bagnoli. “We had a long period of holiday, we are not in our best condition.”
Iran trailed by four, 9-13, after Japan came up with a 5-0 spurt in the final set.
But Mousavi E. sparked a 4-1 run to snatch the lead, 23-22, as team Iran scored back-to-back points capped by Fayazi’s service ace to grab the victory.
Bagnoli pointed out their second set meltdown and their near collapse in the fourth set, saying his players need to be more careful especially against tough teams like Japan.
“In the second set we were not playing so well and when Japan is in a good moment in playing it's hard,” he said.
“Some crucial points in the fourth set could also be very dangerous,” he added.
Marouf L., Mousavi E., Fayazi D. and Afshar Farhad Nazari were the only ones left from the champion team last season.
Iran played superb net defense, recording 12 blocks compared to just one of Japan.
Egyptian reinforcement Mohamed Khattab made 19 markers, including the lone block point of Japan, while Yuki Hosokawa and Hiroya Ishigaki added 14 and 12, respectively.
Japan is tied with Vietnam at 0-1.