Defending champions Al Arabi Club fought back twice from being down and posted a thrilling five-set 23-25 25-22 25-27 25-23 15-5 triumph over Police in the Emir Cup Volleyball Championship semi-final playoffs on Saturday.
With this victory, Al Arabi Club took 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
In other match, 11-time champions Al Rayyan Club proved strong enough to beat runner-up El Jaish 25-18 25-20 25-23 to go 1-0 up.
At the Qatar Women’s Sports Committee Indoor Hall, Al Arabi, the 22 times winners, found the going a bit difficult as Police used Mads Ditlevsen, Thijs ter Horse and middle player John Chigbo superbly at the net.
Police, after going 2-1 sets up, were leading 21-17 in the fourth. However, experienced Al Arabi Club turned around the game and tied the set scores after winning the fourth.
In the decider, Al Arabi Club were on fire, stretching their early 5-0 lead to 10-4. They sealed the triumph in one hour and 51 minutes as Dutch spiker ter Horst smashed outside.
American Taylor Sander and German Gyorgy Grozer were the engines of the Al Arabi victory, scoring 52 points between them. Sander had 27, while Grozer’s 25 included 23 from spikes. Middle players Mohamed Ibrahim and Thiago also excelled and collected 13 and 9, respectively.
For Police, the chief efforts came from Ditlevsen (25). Ter Horst could manage only 14 and Chigbo added 12. Vantislav earned nine.
Al Rayyan Club controlled the first two sets but trailed in the third mostly. However, their momentum got the necessary push in the closing stages and they went on to clinch the set and the match in one hour and 15 minutes.
Cuban professional Oreol Camejo had a match-high 19 points. New player Nikic chipped in 15, including 14 from spikes. Dusan Petkovic accounted for nine.
For El Jaish, Conte was the top scorer with 15. Geiler, their new professional, got only eight, while David added six.
Al Rayyan Club beat El Jaish 25-18 25-20 25-23 in one hour and 15 minutes
Al Arabi Club beat Police 23-25 25-22 25-27 25-23 15-5 in one hour and 51 minutes