Taipei, Qatar cruised to the final showdown with remarkable unbeaten record after they pulled off a stunning 3-1 (25-21, 22-25, 25-19, 25-16) win over Japan in the semi-finals of the 6th AVC Cup for Men at the University of Taipei (Tianmu) Gymnasium on Tuesday.
In the final match to be staged on Wednesday, Qatar will take on Iran.
Qatar and Japan entered the court in confidence as both sides were seeking the final with the first set levelled at 10-10. Encouraged by a winning block completed by small setter Kobayashi Mitsuki at 15-13, the Japanese kept leading at narrow 20-19 before Qatar's destructive serves and thundering attacks prevailed Japanese brick-wall defense. With the exciting cheers and whistles, Qatar claimed the hard-fought set 25-21.
In the second set, the Japanese continued their flexible tactics and clever attacks to narrowly surged ahead the Qataris. Although Qatar trailed closely with dink spikes and solid blocks, Japan survived from the tense set 25-22.
The third set saw both sides trade strong blows until the second technical timeout 16-15. Holding advantage of high-point attacks, height and aggressive serves, Qatar left only four more points to wrap up the comfortable set 25-19.
Throughout the fourth set, Japan fought at full blast, trying to pierce into the rivals' solid blocks. Although Miyaura Kento helped Japan finish a long rally with his consecutive attempts of spikes to a 6-5 lead in the set, Qatar could always find an easier way to respond making use of their height and power. They widened the gap from 8-7 to 16-10 at the second technical timeout. An incredible digging by Erfan Gholamipour from the bench area regardless of his safety spurred his teammates to rush to a 25-16 set win and to the final showdown of the 6th AVC Cup for Men.
We were under pressure from the Japanese orderly blocks and solid defence and we had made some mistakes that were not seen before in this match. But we were able to fix the problems in time and won this thrilling game," said Qatar head coach Camilo Soto. As a coach, I did not focus too much on which team we are going to meet in the final. Instead, I focus more on improving my teams."
Source: Qatar Olympic Committee