Volleyball: Magnificent Thais stun Japan

Volleyball: Magnificent Thais stun Japan

In-form Thailand put in a flawless performance to stun world No 3 Japan 3-1 and keep alive their hopes of advancing to the semi-finals in the 17th Asian Senior Women's Volleyball Championship.

The victory over Olympic bronze medallists Japan, who were fourth at the recent World Grand Prix, was sweet revenge for Thailand, after two defeats against the Japanese this year.

Yesterday, world No 16 and 2009 Asian champions Thailand leapt to a 12-1 lead before letting their foot off the accelerator to win the first game 25-15. Japan then fought back aggressively, but the hosts drew on the energy of a large cheering crowd at Chatchai Hall to edge the second game 25-23.

One of the world's best attackers, Saori Kimura - who led Japan to the 2007 Asian crown - then hit back, helping the visitors win the third game 25-23.

A resurgent Japan then went 16-11 up in the fourth game before Thailand wrestled back the momentum to triumph by two points for the match win, 25-15 25-23 23-25 30-28.

The victory brightened Thai hopes of making it to the semi-finals.

Today, the home side plays Vietnam - their last match in Pool E quarter-finals. Japan will tackle tough Kazakhstan.

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