Kathmandu, March 24

Nepal came from one set down to record hard-fought victory over hosts Maldives in the third AVC Central Zone Volleyball Tournament in Male on Friday.

After losing the opening set 23-25, Nepal made a strong comeback to win the next three sets to register a victory. Nepal took the second set 29-27 to level the match before both the teams went neck-to-neck in the third before Nepal registered a 33-31 victory. Nepal then won the fourth set 25-19. Allrounder Raj Kumar Niraula made the national team debut from the match.

Nepal coach Jagdish Bhatta lauded the players for the outstanding performance. “For the second match in a row, our players exceeded our expectations,” said Bhatta. “I am more than happy as this win has put us in a strong position to win the maiden international medal in men’s volleyball,” he added.

Bhatta said Nepali players lost the first set due to the lack of coordination but they bounced back to win the match. “Spike and service were the two areas that provided us the win today as the players put up an improved show,” he said. “We have to improve in defense and receive in the next match. All the players gave their best shot in today’s match and Open Spiker Man Bahadur Shrestha was just brilliant,” said Bhatta.

Nepal had faced a straight-set defeat against Turkmenistan in their opening match on Thursday. Nepal will now face Kyrgyzstan on Monday. A total of four teams are taking part in the round-robin tournament. Top team will make it to the final, while the next two will play against each other for a place in the final.