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Iran upsets Japan to win Asian Men's U23 Volleyball Championship title

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This photo shows a view of the 2017 Asian Men's U23 Volleyball Championship final match between Iran and Japan at Hossein Rezazadeh Indoor Stadium in the northwestern Iranian city of Ardabil on May 9, 2017.

The national Iranian volleyball team has lifted the trophy at the conclusion of the 2017 Asian Men's U23 Volleyball Championship following a resounding victory over Japan in the final showdown of the tournament in the northwestern Iranian city of Ardabil.

On Tuesday evening, the hosts triumphed over their East Asian counterparts 3-0 (27-25, 26-24 and 25-20) in an epic encounter at the 6,000-seater Hossein Rezazadeh Indoor Stadium.

Iranian and Japanese volleyball players got off to a fine start, and were relatively neck and neck for much of the opening set. The Iranian sportsmen, however, managed to assert their dominance and chalked up a hard-fought 27-25 win.

The Persians, backed by a huge crowd of fans packing the venue, maintained their lead in the second period, and surged ahead. They finally closed the set at 26-24 despite stiff fight back from the Japanese outfit.

The Iranian squad sustained the momentum in the last set, and finally notched up a 25-20 victory.

“I hereby extend my sincere gratitude to Iranian fans for their unstinting support. I would like to share the joy of winning the gold medal with Iranian volleyball enthusiasts and our families. We knew in advance that our game against Japan was not going to be an easy one, particularly as Japan overtook us at some points of the first two sets,” Iran’s head coach Juan Cichello said after the match.

“I should thank members of my team for bouncing back at critical moments, changing the course of events and emerging victorious at last,” the 41-year-old Argentine said.

The Iranian volleyball team’s championship came a day after it breezed past Thailand 3-0 (25-22, 25-19 and 25-20) at the end of a semi-final match, and took a berth at the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Volleyball Men's U23 World Championship.

The 2017 Asian Men's U23 Volleyball Championship kicked off in Ardabil, Iran, on May 1 and ran through May 9, 2017.

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