0210 GMT October 22, 2020
Mojtaba Mirzajanpour had a good all-around game and recorded 20 attacks and four of Iran’s nine total blocks, fivb.com reported.
Milad Ebadipour also had a solid performance for Iran with 17 points. Venezuelan hitters Willner Rivas and Kervin Pinerua were impressive and contributed 21 and 15 points, respectively. Iran served 10 aces in the match.
Venezuela scored the first two points in the first set, but Iran grabbed the lead at 6-4 as it benefitted from its two great service aces. The succeeding plays became a point-by-point exchange led by Iran’s Mirzajanpour and Venezuela’s Kervin Pinerua.
Iran gained a 24-22 edge from its opponent’s service error and an ace from Farhad Ghaemi, until Hamzeh Zarini closed the set at 25-23 with a powerful swing from the left side.
In the second set, Mirzajanpour and Zarini continued to pin down their spikes, while Jhonlenn Barreto and Willner Rivas gave Pinerua some support on offense. Iran led 9-6 using its pressure serves on the Venezuelan side. After trailing Iran in the middle of the set, Venezuela tied the score at 20-all from a great block on Zarini. The deadlock and lead changes continued, until Venezuela prevailed on two attacks from the left and right flanks 29-27.
Venezuelan hitters Pinerua and Rivas played aggressively against the Iranian blockers, which helped them move ahead. The South American side established a five-point cushion with excellent defense that enabled its setter to set-up the hitters to find the open spot.
Pinerua’s ace gave its team set point, until it scored again to conclude the set 25-21. Iran played with better pace on offense in the fourth set and paved the way to keep a constant lead on Venezuela. Iran cruised to win the fourth set 25-18.
In the final set, Iran opened with three service aces that forced Venezuela to call a timeout. Venezuela positively responded as it tied the score at 5-all. Iran scored four straight points to increase the gap 9-5. Mirzajanpour scored on back-to-back hits that closed set and match 15-8.
In the other match of the tourney on Sunday, Canada knocked China out of the race in the fifth set (25-16, 20-25, 26-24, 25-20, 15-9) and thanks to Poland’s straight-set win over Australia (25-21, 25-15, 27-25) won the ticket to Rio.
Canada managed to gain a one-point lead at the first technical timeout of the third set. As the Canadians led 9-7, play had to be stopped as Perrin was down on the floor from a bad fall. The Canadian hitter got back on his feet and led his side to mount a 20-15 advantage. China managed to cut down the lead with excellent plays; and two service aces by Ji Daoshuai and Cui Jianjun set the tone for its comeback.
A block completed it, as the score was tied at 22-all. Schmitt tried to give his side some breathing space at 24-23, but Ji and Yuan scored the next three points to snatch the victory for China 26-24.
In the fourth set, Canada could not pull away in the beginning as China played excellent defense. Canada managed to gain a 21-17 advantage, as Perrin and Duff contributed from the attack and service lines, respectively. Steven Marshall forced the tie-breaker with a kill 25-20.
Canada had an inspiring run and led 8-2 at side change. China managed to score in the next few plays but Canada countered well to safeguard its lead. China missed on an attack that gave Canada a 13-8 advantage. Canada deflected a shot for set point and the final attack secured it set and match 15-9.
John Gordon Perrin and Gavin Schmitt hit beyond the 20-point mark as they delivered an inspiring performance to keep Canada’s hopes up. Perrin delivered 27 points, while Schmitt recorded 23 points. Yuan Zhi top scored for China, followed by Zhang Chen, who scored 14 points.
And finally the tournament wrapped up with Japan’s 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, 25-23) over France which had already had Rio’s ticket in its pocket.
Poland, Iran, France and Canada were the tourney’s first four teams, respectively, that qualified for Rio’s Games.