Funabashi Arena [Japan]: The Indian men’s volleyball team defeated Saudi Arabia in straight sets in the Asian Volleyball Championship 2021 at the Funabashi Arena, Japan, on Saturday.
Saudi Arabia put up a strong show, but the Indians ended as the better side, with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-23) win in the ninth to 12th place semi-finals, as per olympics.com India was in good form going into the match, having picked up back-to-back victories against Kuwait and Uzbekistan in the classification round — played to decide the teams’ standings between the ninth and 16th positions.
Earlier, India had finished last in the group stage, following losses to Bahrain, Qatar and nine-time champions Japan, which closed their door to the quarter-finals. Only the top two teams of the group — Japan and Qatar — made it to the last eight.
Against Saudi Arabia, Charles Jerome Vinith and Rai Ashwal were the standout performers for India. Both ended with 15 points each.
On the other hand, Saudi Arabia captain Azouz Asaad, with 20 points, was the top scorer for the gulf nation.
Following the win, India moved up to 71 in the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) men’s rankings.
The Indian volleyball team will now fight Bahrain for ninth place on Sunday. The previous contest between the two, during the group stage, ended 3-0 in Bahrain’s favour (27-25, 25-21, 25-21).