Tokyo, Japan, May 28, 2016 – Iran opened the Men’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament with a 3-0 (25-19, 25-17, 25-18) win over Australia at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Saturday.
Iran captain Mir Saeid Marouflakrani worked his magic by setting up Amir Ghafour and his other hitters to dominate their rivals in the straight-set clash. Marouf dished out 27 excellent sets that abled Ghafour to tally 19 markers. Adel Gholami and Mojtaba Mirzajanpour contributed 10 points each to the Iranian victory, while Samuel Walker top scored for Australia with eight points.
Australia did not have their star Thomas Edgar in the first set but were able get the first break as they scored the first two points. Iran scored the next two points and rallied to lead at the first technical timeout 8-6. Australia tried to keep up but still trailed 16-15. Marouf excellently engineered his hitters to find the open spot that allowed them to pull away and secure the opening set 25-19.
Iran had an intimidating stance at the net that limited the Australian hitters. Iran led 15-10 and started another run to seize the second set 25-17. Edgar finally saw action in the third frame and instantly gave his team the much-needed flame from the attack line. The Australian struggle continued as the Iranians had excellent coverage that set-up their counter-attack. Iran scored in clusters until they gave their rivals with the finishing blow on Ghafour’s attack winner and a service blunder by Paul Carroll to end set and match 25-18.