Pakistan face South Korea in a crucial Asian Games game

By our correspondent
LAHORE: Following two successive wins against Mongolia and Chinese Taipei in their group stage Pakistan on Friday (today) will face a real test of nerves when they meet three-time Asian Games champions South Korea in their round of 12 crucial game of the men’s volleyball event of the Hangzhou Asian Games.

South Korea are a tough side. They were shocked by Group C winners India 3-2 the other day which pushed them to the second spot in their group. However the Koreans were able to inflict a straight win over Cambodia in their final group show on Thursday. The set score remained 25-23, 25-13 and 25-15 in South Korea’s favour.

Pakistan, although, were able to inflict 3-0 defeats on comparatively weak Mongolia and Chinese Taipei but they will have to be on the top of their game against Korea which never let any chance slip off their hands.

In the previous two games Pakistan were seen exhibiting fine skills against the units which are not counted as too tough. Chinese Taipei used to be a good side but they have also inducted a few youngsters in the Asian Games.

The Green-shirts will need to do their best in the middle block and serves against the Koreans. Top serves will disturb the Koreans’ reception which could give advantage to the Pakistan side to tighten noose around their opponents. The spikers have done so far a good job and it would be interesting to see how they fire at the Koreans at what could be a gripping affair.

The win against Korea will give Pakistan an opportunity to press for decent finish in the days to come. Pakistan’s best ever performance in the Asian Games volleyball history has been the third place finish at the 1962 Jakarta Asian Games.

“We have prepared them mentally and have spoken them and have shown them the videos. We talked about the tactics which we will have to use during the game,” Pakistan’s Brazilian coach Issanaye Ramires Ferraz told this correspondentfrom Hangzhou on Thursday.

“We need to have high focus to take advantage of the situations that coming to us during that match. This is the kind of match where one or two balls decide who will be the winner and I hope that we going to be the winners,” Issanaye said.

The other teams which have qualified for the round of 12 include China, Kazakhstan, Iran, Bahrain, India, Chinese Taipei, Qatar, Thailand, Japan and Indonesia.

Also on Friday (today) in round of 12 matches China will lock horns with Indonesia, Kazakhstan will face Japan, India to meet Chinese Taipei, Iran to take on Thailand and Qatar meet Bahrain.

Pakistan squad: Abdul Zaheer, Hamid Yazman, Farooq Haider, Murad Khan, Murad Jehan, Mohammad Hammad, Musawar Khan, Nasir Ali, Usman Faryad Ali, Mubashar Raza (captain), Mohammad Kashif Naved, Afaq Khan; Officials: Issanaye Ramires Ferraz (coach), Naseer Ahmed (manager), Ihsan Iqbal, Armin Golkari (video analyst), Lucas Ferreira Rodrigues (trainer), Saeed Ahmed Khan).

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