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Host China overpowers Japan to harvest second win
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09:04, August 15, 2008

Host China lightened its outlook to enter the quarterfinals after a memorable 3-2 win over error-prone Japan in men's volleyball preliminaries on Thursday night.

In the deafening cheers of "Zhongguo, Bisheng (China, surely win)" from more than 14,000 home fans, China gave full play of its fast-attack style of play to tame its old rival 25-20, 25-23,25-17, 25-16 and 15-10

The Asian derby is a must-win step of for two teams, who are regarded on the same par, as China holds a 1-2 win-loss record so far, while Japan suffers from two consecutive loss.

"We are no stranger to Japan and we have kept a half-half win-loss record against the team. So, the on-court performances of players will decide the result today," China's head coach Zhou Jian'an told Xinhua before the match.

However, the host was proved a cut above the Japanese, especially on reception and serving.

Chains of unforced errors, including seven serve faults, cost Japan dearly in the opener and China soon established an early lead 6-3. With two ace serves of wing spiker Cui Jianjun and powerful spikes of Yuan Zhi from the right flank, China enlarged the gap to 16-9, when Japan strived to narrow the gap to 21-18 with effective blocking and lethal spikes from Kunihiro Shimizu.

However, they wasted the chance to bounce back with frequent errors at the crucial points. An out-of-the-court serve and a same-way spike helped China took the set 25-20.

Japan failed to stem China's winning momentum in the second set and their unforced errors gave the rivals another 10 points. Starting with 14-10, China control the play and improved to 24-21, thanks to the spikes of 19-year-old Bian Hongmin and YuanZhi.

After missing two match points, a determined China took the set 25-23 with an unanswered spike of Yuan Zhi.

However, the host fell into sleep in the third set. After breaking a 14-14 draw, Japan launched a brilliant to 9-1run to take over lead 23-15 with the spiker of southpaw hitter Takahiro Yamamoto and ace serves of Yu Koshikawa.

China pulled back two points, but Yamamoto's ace serve helped Japan pull the set back 25-17.

The fourth set went almost the same way as the third. Yamamoto and 2.05-meter Kota Yamamura at the net were prominent, while the attacking of China's Yuan was from the left was restrained by their blocking. Japan took the set 25-16.

The match was forced into the tiebreak. Koshikawa and Yamamoto continued to break China's reception and defense with powerful serve and spikes in the early stages of the tie-break, and China replied through Bian and Shen Qiong, who continued to come up with clean winners on either side, 8-7 China at the turn around.

China staged a stunning 6-2 run with kill block of Shen Qiong and spikes from Fang Yingchao, a new face to Japan who was sent to the court at the fourth set.

China had three match points at 14-9, but missed two with wild spike of Shi Hairong. The fervency of the spectators went to the highest when the middle blocker Fang rose at the net and his attack was touched out by the Japanese block to end it 15-11.

Source:Xinhua

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1 China 22 7 5 34
2 USA 10 9 14 33
5 Germany 7 2 3 12
3 South Korea 6 7 3 16
4 Italia 6 4 3 13
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