Nay Pyi Taw: Indian boys scripted history in Myanmar as they knocked Pakistan out on their way to first-ever Final appearance in the 2019 Asian Men's U23 Volleyball Championship in Naypyitaw. With their semi-final win, they also secured a place in the upcoming edition of FIVB Volleyball Men's U23 World Championships.
Pakistan, who came into the match in great form, failed to seize the advantage after winning the first set and conceded the next three sets to a rampaging Indian team who secured a comprehensive 3-1 win.
India won the match 21-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-18 to set up a summit clash against the Chinese Taipei on Sunday.
Pakistan won the first set largely untroubled. India did run them close at various stages, bringing the score to 16-15 and 20-19 on two occasions. However, once beyond the 20 point mark, Pakistan didn't give anything away to close matters quickly.
India's start to the second set was much more confident than the first as both the key players Shon John and Amit Gulia found their touch. Pakistan was able to match India shot for shot until the 10 point mark after which miscalculations and chaos proved to be the undoing for the men in green, allowing India to win the set easily.
The next set once again began on a very competitive note with neither side being able to get a lead of more than two points till the halfway mark in the set.
However, once again after reaching the 10 point mark, India raised its game up by several notches to put some distance between them and the opposition. Pakistan made a much stronger recovery to level the scores at the 18 point mark and 22 point mark. But Shon John once again emerged as the man for coach Pritam Singh Chauhan as he turned the set in favour of India with a series of decisive spikes.
With two sets in the pocket, India seized the advantage in the fourth set and made the most of Pakistan's frayed nerves. Pakistan made several service errors in the fourth set and wasn't helped by Fahad's form which blew hot and cold. Amit Gulia's boys eventually wrapped things up to take the set 25-18.
Coach Pritam Singh Chauhan revealed that the boys were under no pressure despite the match being a knockout fixture against Pakistan. He said, "For us, every opposition is the same. Our objective is to win and proceed to the next challenge. We knew our strengths and we stuck to them despite being down 1-0 after the first set."
He said: "The kind of comebacks these boys have made in the tournament goes on to show how mentally tough they have become in their campaign. As a coach, I can't ask for more. I am extremely confident that whatever little errors they made today will be ironed out by tomorrow."
Earlier, Chinese Taipei defeated Japan 3-2 in a hard-fought contest. They will now play India for the title of Asian Men's U23 Volleyball Champions at 5.30 PM IST on Sunday.
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