Ghafour’s all-round game powers Iran to first win in Urmia
Iran's Amir Ghafour, Purya Fayazi and Seyed Mohammad Mousavi celebrate in their match against Canada
Ghafour recorded 12 kills, two blocks and two service winners to lead Iran to its sixth win this season – one victory shy of their total wins from last season. The 28-year-old Ghafour is the only player on their side to score beyond the century mark, with a total of 107 points.
Purya Fayazi and Seyed Mohammad Mousavi also produced double figures against Canada, scoring 11 and 10 points, respectively. Together with Ghafour, their good performance could factor in against their encounter with the reigning world champions Poland on Saturday.
The Poles, who are coming off a four-set loss against the Russians on Friday, are banking on their team’s winning advantage at world level tournaments against the Iranians. However, in their last two encounters last year, they produced an equal 1-1 record against each other.
Iran won in straight sets at the 2018 VNL, while Poland won in straight sets at the World Championship. In that last encounter, Ghafour scored a match-high 17 points in his team’s defeat.
The first match at Urmia between Russia and Canada is scheduled at 15:30 local time and then the main header between hosts Iran and Poland is scheduled at 18:30.
A win by the Iranians against Poland would put them in a good position in their matchup on Sunday against the Russians, who are the reigning VNL champions. Since losing their first match, Russia have won six consecutive matches at the 2019 VNL.
In other pool matches, Brazil are looking to recover from their five-set loss against Serbia in Gondomar. The Brazilians suffered their first loss in the tournament and will try to get back on the winning track when they meet with China in Pool 9 at 16:00 local time. Portugal will take on Serbia at 19:00.
In Pool 10, Italy are hoping to win their second match in Varna against Australia at 17:00 local time, then Bulgaria will go for their second win at home against Japan at 20:40.
France are also hoping to extend their winning run when they meet Argentina at 20:00 local time in Cannes, but before that, the United States will play Germany at 17:00.
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