Eight-time champions Al Rayyan Club posted their 15th victory in a row in the QVA League, overcoming plucky Qatar Sports Club in a five-set thriller on Monday.
The Lions, powered by 21 points from Marcus, were 2-0 up and looked like coasting to another win. But Qatar Sports Club, the four-time winners, rallied back spiritedly and tied the set scores at 2-2.
Al Rayyan Club regained their poise and rhythm and shot ahead 8-3 and then 11-4 with a compact all-round game. A poor service at 6-13 by Qatar Sports Club set up the match point of the heated fixture and then Amar smashed the ball out to leave the opponents 25-19, 25-17, 21-25, 20-25, 15-6 winner after one hour and 58 minutes.
This was the 15th victory in a row for undefeated Al Rayyan, increasing their points tally to 43. This is a second time in the season that The Lions dropped a point despite winning 3-2. Earlier, Al Rayyan took five sets to overcome defending champions Police in the first phase of the league in November.
The sixth defeat for Qatar Sports Club in 15 matches tied them with Al Wakrah Club on points (25) but the latter have played two more matches than them.
Apart from Marcus, Colombian William Bermudez and Faye collected 12 each for the winners, while Bilal secured 10 and Ivan Boroniak got nine.
For Qatar Sports Club, who have been runners-up in the League on nine occasions, Yousef logged a game-high 22 points with his power-packed spikes. Sofian supported him well with 17 and Amar chipped in 13. Middle player Pape notched up 10.
In another match, holders Police overpowered 25-time winners Al Arabi Club with a come-from-behind 16-25, 25-17, 27-25, 23-25, 15-12 victory to keep their challenge alive.
Police put up a gritty display after having lost the opener. They led 2-1 before Al Arabi forced the decider.
It was the 13th win for Police in 15 matches, raising their tally to 40 points. For Al Arabi, this was the fourth loss in 15 matches. They occupy the third spot with 34 points.
With this win, Police can hope to maintain pressure on leaders Al Rayyan as both will clash in the last game of the League next month. If both keep winning their matches till the upcoming big game, Police will need to beat Al Rayyan Club 3-0 or 3-1 to force a title playoff. If they can’t, Al Rayyan Club will go on to bag the ninth crown on April 7.
Al Rayyan Club beat Qatar Sports Club 3-2 (25-19, 25-17, 21-25, 20-25, 15-6)
Police beat Al Arabi Club 3-2 (16-25, 25-17, 27-25, 23-25, 15-12)