Chennai Spartans become first Indian club to enter AVC Championship semifinals

The Vietnamese champion was no match for the Indian club as it stumbled to a defeat in straight sets and surrendered the contest 25-21, 25-18, 25-21.

Rudy Verhoeff played a crucial role in Chennai Spartans' win.   -  M. Vedhan

Chennai Spartans became the first Indian club to advance to the semifinal of the Asian Men’s Volleyball Club Championship when it defeated Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday.

The Vietnamese champion was no match for the Indian club as it stumbled to a defeat in straight sets and surrendered the contest 25-21, 25-18, 25-21.

For the Spartans, Naveen Jacob came up with an impressive haul of 17 points in the encounter. Ho Chi Minh City ran the Spartans close in the first set but some fine attacking by the likes of Jerome Vinith and Ruslans Sorokins helped the Spartans seize the advantage.

The next set saw Rudy Verhoeff and Jacob step up as the duo ensured the Spartans never gave away the advantage despite some fine spiking by Nguyen Van Hanh.

Ho Chi Minh pushed the Spartans hard in the eventual set, but the late resurgence only delayed the inevitable as the Indian club notched up its second straight set victory.

“It was our best result so far in this tournament as we are now among the top four teams. We played badly in the first match and then we picked it up to win the remaining matches,” Spartans chief coach, MH Kumara said.

Chennai Spartans will now meet the winners of the Taichung Bank Vs Shahrdari Varamin encounter in the semifinal on Thursday.