Brazil overpower Thailand in Grand Prix finals
Olympic champions Brazil beat Thailand in straight sets in the women's volleyball World Grand Prix Finals yesterday.
Despite a solid resistance from Thailand, the Brazilians were irresistible at the net to score a 25-20 25-23 and 25-14 victory.
Captain Castro Sheilla scored 15 points for Brazil and Fernanda Rodgrigues added 11. Thailand also had two players in double digits with Malika Kanthong (13) and Wilavan Apinyapong (12) keeping them afloat.
The Thai women, who defeated hosts Chin 3-2 on Friday, started strongly against the Beijing Olympic Games gold medallist, racing to an 8-4 lead in the opening set. Brazil managed to tie the game at 9 but Thailand again went ahead to lead the first 16-12.
But Brazil then had a 6-1 run to take the lead for the first time at 18-17, claiming the first set at 25-20 with a kill from Paula Pequeno in a counter-attack.
Brazil showed their trademark offence with Adenizia Silva hitting the ball with great efficiency. The Thais answered with their typical fast attack and Malika came out with a powerful kill to help her team pull level at 14.
Tied at 22-22, a serving error from Thailand and Silva's kill gave Brazil two set points, Pleumjit Thinkaow saved one for Thailand with an excellent spike, but Brazil held the second as Menezes Thaisa's high spike proved too much for the Thailand defence.
Brazil came back in the third set with improved blocking against Pleumjit and Onuma Sittirak to lead at 13-9. Thailand managed to stay in the game, but with Rodgrigues and Silva firing on all cylinders, Brazil kept the advantage at the net and lead 20-13.
Brazil ran off five of the last six points, Danielle Lins and Jaqueline Carvalho combined to have a successful block and Brazil take the set at 25-14.
Thailand captain Wilavan said, "We tried our best. It is a very hard to play Brazil. They are a great team. It's not easy to score points."
Thailand coach Kiattipong Radchatagriengkai said Brazil played at a different level. "We are happy despite the defeat. We learned a lot of things from good players and good coaches. Every time we play, we try to improve our technique. It will be good for our future."
Brazil coach Jose R Guimaraes said he was very happy to see the improvement Thailand made over the years. "I watched their match against China yesterday. They were very good. Today, they put us under tremendous pressure. In the second set, the Thais served very hard, we made many mistakes in reception. I am happy with the three points," he said.
In another match, the United States beat Cuba 25-14, 26-24 and 25-14 to stay unbeaten in the tournament so far. The straight set victory was their fourth.
Thais gun down China
On Friday, Thailand stunned China with an epic come-from-behind 21-25 25-22 34-32 21-25 15-13 victory. The magnificent win was a sweet revenge for the Thais, who lost 3-1 to them in Macau early this month. After the victory, fans took to the social media to praise the Thai team's exceptional performance.
Today, Thailand take on Cuba, Turkey play Brazil and China challenge the US.
Meanwhile, Thai coach Kiattipong said Japanese professional J-League sides are interested in signing Onuma Sittirak and Pleumjit Thinkaow for the next season.