Seoul, South Korea, June 17, 2018 - South Korea broke through for their first FIVB Volleyball Nations League victory on Sunday, cruising past China 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-22) as captain Moon Sung-Min led his team with 20 points.
For the home fans the wait must have almost seemed eternal - as Korea lost their first 11 VNL games - but the players turned their form around during their fourth-round trip to the capital's Jangchung Gym. They lost a five-set thriller 3-2 to Italy on Saturday afternoon and then came Sunday and - finally - victory.
Opposite spiker Moon was the star - with his tally including 18 spikes and two blocks - but he was ably supported by wing spikers Jung Jiseok (18 points) and Song Myung-Geun (11 points). Song was in fine form from beyond the service lines, picking up three points by varying his pace as the Korean outscored China in aces 6-0.
There wasn't must joy for China during this fourth round as the loss on Sunday made it 0-3 in Korea and 0-6 overall in the VNL. Coach Raul Lozano brought their star wing spiker Chuan Jiang back into the line-up after a day's rest, and he duly led the way in the losing effort with 17 points. Middle blocker Chen Longhai chipped in with six points but only saw one of 11 block attempts come off.
Local media were quick to capture the sights of pure delight both on court and in the stands when the final point came - and the Koreans will now look to build on there efforts at home when they head off to the final round of matches in Tehran from June 22.
The Koreans round out their campaign against hosts Iran, Germany and Bulgaria.
China head off into the final round with a record of 2-10 but will be hoping hope comforts in Jiangmen will help as they prepare to finish off the inaugural VNL with matches against Japan, Canada and Serbia.