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Vietnam bounces back to beat China in 2023 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship semifinals

Vietnam bounces back to beat China in 2023 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship semifinals

Tuesday, May 02, 2023, 09:59 GMT+7
Vietnam bounces back to beat China in 2023 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship semifinals
Vietnam Sport Center I players celebrate a point during their semifinal clash against China’s Liaoning Donghua at the 2023 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship in Vinh Phuc Province, Vietnam, May 1, 2023. Photo: Asian Volleyball Confederation

Vietnam’s Sport Center I, the only team unbeaten at the 2023 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship, set up a final clash with Thailand’s Diamond Food Fine Chef after their stunning upset of China’s Liaoning Donghua in a thrilling semifinal match in the northern Vietnamese province of Vinh Phuc on Monday.

Sport Center I, fielding all Vietnamese national team players in their final preparation for next week’s 2023 Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia, remained strong offensively with the likes of powerful hitter Tran Thi Thanh Thuy.

However, the first set was dominated by Liaoning Donghua, which took an initial lead with a four-point advantage at 12-8, with Cheng Wen and Sun Xizoxuan effectively blocking Thanh Thuy several times. 

The Chinese outfit made the most of the Vietnamese unforced attacking and blocking mistakes to storm on with consistency to claim the first set at 25-17.

Liaoning Donghua still gained the upper hand in the second set to lead 12-6 to silence the cheering home fans at the packed 3,000-seater Vinh Phuc Indoor Stadium with their spectacular attacks and splendid combinations, but the host team gradually pulled the game together to catch them at 22-22. 

After that, Sport Center I allowed the strong visitors only one more point from Sun Xizoxuan’s aggressive attack to the back court as Thanh Thuy scored three points in a row to lift the team to a hard-fought 25-23 win.

Sport Center I’s confidence was boosted after winning the second set, and they came back with superb form in the third set. 

They caught the Chinese side at 12-12, took control, and broke away to lead by a wide margin of 23-17.  

Vi Thi Nhu Quynh delivered the set point for the home team at 24-17, but Wang Lujia attacked well to score one point for the Chinese team before a serve from Lin Xinyu went into the net, letting Sport Center I grab the third set 25-18.

A Vietnam Sport Center I player jumps to spike the volleyball in their semifinal clash against China’s Liaoning Donghua at the 2023 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship in Vinh Phuc Province, Vietnam, May 1, 2023. Photo: Asian Volleyball Confederation

A Vietnam Sport Center I player jumps to spike the volleyball in their semifinal clash against China’s Liaoning Donghua at the 2023 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship in Vinh Phuc Province, Vietnam, May 1, 2023. Photo: Asian Volleyball Confederation

Cheered on noisily by home fans, Sport Center I came out with an amazing, gutsy display and excellent teamwork. 

Thanh Thuy led the Vietnamese attacks and she did not let her fans down with her exceptional form. 

Her powerful mid-court attacks and well-established combinations from Nhu Quynh’s thundering spikes and solid blocks by Hoang Thi Kieu Trinh moved the home team ahead 13-8. 

After that, the Vietnamese entertained home fans with their exceptional tactics including powerful attacks from Thanh Thuy and Nhu Quynh and effective blocks to extend the lead to 22-14. 

Sport Center I never looked back, going on to capture the set 25-16, claiming both the match and a finals berth, much to the home fans’ delight.

The terrific comeback 3-1 win not only earned Sport Center I their unprecedented spot in the highly-anticipated final showdown against Diamond Food Fine Chef team from Thailand on Tuesday, but also made history for Vietnam as it became the first time ever that a Vietnamese team made the podium in this continent’s top flight club championship. 

The 2023 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship is the 23rd edition of the annual international women’s club volleyball tournament organized by the Asian Volleyball Confederation and the Volleyball Federation of Vietnam.

The nine participating teams -- Vietnam, Iran, Japan, Taiwan, Kazakhstan, Thailand, China, Mongolia, and Hong Kong -- compete in two groups in a round-robin format in Vinh Phuc Province from April 25 to May 2.

The winner of the tournament will qualify for the 2023 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship, which is scheduled for December 11 to 17 in China.

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Bao Anh - Duc Khue / Tuoi Tre News

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