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Iran Loses Asian Derby to Japan

National team after the match.National team after the match.

Iran lost the Asian volleyball derby against Japan 3-1 (25-22, 30-28, 23-25, 25-23) after an eight-year dominance over the head-to-head clashes, on Sunday during the FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

To edge out a solid Iranian side, Japan relied on a team performance as Masahiro Yanagida (17 points, including 3 aces), Tatsuya Fukuzawa (11 points), Akihiro Yamauchi (12 points) and Haku Ri (15 points) all managed double digits, FIVB.com wrote.

Amir Ghafour, who was Iran’s top scorer on 18 points against France on Friday, was in top form for this Asian derby, claiming 22 points (including 4 blocks), almost double the total of Seyyed Mohammad Mousavi (12).

Both teams had earned a victory and lost one match after the opening two days of the competition; Iran had a win over Australia and a loss against France.

In this rematch of both the 2014 Asian Games final and the 2015 Asian Championship final, Iran was the favorite on paper, having won five of the last six encounters at world level major competitions against its Asian counterpart. But in the end Japan came out as victor.

Japan now heads to Goaiana, Brazil, for week 2 while Iran travels to San Juan in Argentina hoping to do better.

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