CHIBA, Japan, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- China wasted a 2-0 lead and a pair of match points in the fourth set as they were beaten by Australia 3-2 in their final Group C match at the Asian Men's Volleyball Championship here on Tuesday.
Australia, who finished second two years ago, got off to a flying start, building a 12-7 lead in the first set. But China managed to level the score before winning 27-25.
The Chinese side, who failed to qualify for this year's Tokyo Olympic Games, looked more comfortable in the second set with a 25-20 victory. Australia made it 2-1 by taking the third 25-21.
The fourth set was a seesaw, and as China looked to seal the match with two match points at 24-22, Australia captain Thomas Edgar, who was named the most valuable player at the last Asian Championship two years ago, made the difference at the crucial point. He helped Australia save the game 28-26 and went on to take the deciding set 15-12.
Edgar, who played in the Chinese Volleyball League for Beijing in 2015, scored a match-high 27 points. China captain Jiang Chuan scored 19 points.
"China is a very young team," said Chinese head coach Wu Sheng. "This is the price we have to pay before growing mature."
"With two match points in hand, we should have won very easily. But the players succumbed to the pressure," he said.
China and Australia will be drawn into Group E with Group A winner Japan and second finisher Qatar. Teams who have met in the first group stage do not need to play again.
China will have to beat Japan and Qatar to enter the semifinals. Enditem