Tehran, Iran, July 2, 2016 - Italy led by Vettori and Juantorena smoothly beat Iran 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 25-21) in Tehran on Saturday. This is the eighth time Iran and Italy have clashed in the World League and the first time since 2014. Italy have won four of the previous seven World League meetings.
Both teams came out on the court looking confident, with Iran counting on the home support to carry them to a victory. Italy took an early lead 8-4 and Belgini called a time-out as the Iran narrowed the gap to 13-11. The visitors regained their four-point advantage at the second technical time-out. Italy take advantage of Iran's errors to close out the set 25-20.
Video: Iran v Italy - Group 1: 2016 FIVB Volleyball World League
Iran came back to the match in the opening moments of the second set to galvanize the fans but could not hold on their lead for very long as Italy's Osmany Juantorena made it even at 8-8. When Italy went 16-13 up Lozano called his players to remind them of the critical closing points. Three substitutions helped the home side reduce the margin to 20-19 but Italy's Vettori helped his team hold on to their lead. The set also ended with 25-20 for Italy.
Lozano who felt concerned with his consecutive mistakes and the brilliant performance of Italy in the third set put substitues Mobasheri and Zarini on. Iran managed to build a 13-11 for Iran after trailing 8-4 at the first technical time-out. Belgini pushed the bell to call the players out to stop the flow of the match. Iran tried to make a comeback in the match but Zarini equalized at 14-14. A rare error by Zaytsev allowed Iran do save the first match point, but Mousavi put his serve out to finish the set 25-21.
Tehran, Iran, July 1, 2016 - A stunning all-round performance by Seyed Mohammad Mousavi, who scored 17 points for Iran, broke Serbia's winning streak by contributing to a 3-2 (16-25, 22-25, 25-22, 25-23, 16-14) victory over the southern European opponent.
Mousavi impressed with 8 blocking points while Marko Ivovic was the best scorer with 19 points for Serbia.
With this victory, Iran re-balanced the World League head-to-head record with Serbia with each team having won twice against the other.
In the first set, the good performance of Seyed Mohammad Mousavi could not make up the mistakes made by Iran team and Serbia led 8-5. Although Serbia had practically qualified to the final six, they came to Tehran with all their powers to stay unbeaten. This is why Iran could no more process the power serves of Aleksandar Atanasijevic and lost by 18-25.
Lozano did his attempt to change the plan as some substitutions were made. Mobasheri came in to assist the team after Serbia was in the lead at the first technical time-out. The difference was reduced down to one point at the second technical time out. The home crowd went ecstatic as Zarini leveled it at 20-20 for. It was by no means a lone hand from him, with captain Marouf and also Ebadi enjoying a big night out.
The Iranian players who decided not to be ashamed of home fans came back in the third set and managed to dominate the play by changing mentality. Mousavi led the team to 3-2 as Serbia maintained the power in a breathtaking rally. Mirzajanpour brought hope back to the home team by leveling the score at 7-7. The shot were long enough to lose the sight. Finally Marouf downed Serbia for 11-10 and a rigorous moment tore any trace of fighting mentality on the Serbian side and Iran lead by 16-13 for the first time. The substitute players of Serbia were called on as Uros Kovacevic was in to annul the plans of Raul Lozano. It worked not so well. Nikola Grbic called time-out as Serbia were down 22-24 to stop Iran to take the last point but finally Mousavi closed the set at 25-22.
Video: Iran v Serbia - Group 1: 2016 FIVB Volleyball World League
In the fourth set Iran led by 8-7 and points were exchanged towards the 16-15 at the second technical time-out. Grbic changed the libero and Majstrovic equalized and again the set went on point for point. When they were 20-22 down, Serbia called a time-out, but no working plan was found and the Serbs were disappointed as Iran closed the set at 25-23.
Iran stepped into the court with an improving confidence and clinched the opening points but it was Serbia that took the lead by 8-6. Iran turned things around for 11-9 and a time-out was inevitable for Grbic. It worked and Serbia made it equal at 11-11. Iran led on as the fans were on the edge of their seats waiting to see the final decisive point. Finally the camera recorded the winning score 16-14 in favour of Iran.
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