Al Rayyan champions in Qatar Cup again

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Al Rayyan Club extended their unbeaten run in the season as they beat back Police’s spirited resistance and regained the Qatar Cup Volleyball Championship with a fine 25-22, 25-21, 23-25, 28-26 victory at the QVA Hall on Friday.

Qatar Olympic Committee’s Second Vice-President Dr Thani Abdulrahman al Kuwari was the chief guest at the closing ceremony. He gave away the trophies and awards in presence of QVA President Ali Ghani al Kuwari and other officials.

Al Rayyan, who figured in the fourth successive final and won the first title in 2015-16, took home QR300,000, while Police earned QR200,000 for finishing second.

The Lions have pocketed three major events till now – the Super Cup, the Arab Clubs Championship, the QVA League and looked determined in the four-team final, going 2-0 up.

However, Police rallied back through Mads Ditlevsen, Neto and Nadir Abubakr to snatch a set. Then they suddenly collapsed to an onslaught from Al Rayyan initiated by Bairama Faye and trailed 6-13 from 6-6 in the fourth set.

When fans thought the match has been virtually been killed by Al Rayyan after gaining five match points 24-19, Police added more twists and thrills. They launched their streak and pulled level, besides getting their own set points twice.

Al Rayyan Club did not allow this to happen. Serbian Ivan Borovnjak, who replaced Cuban pro Yordan Bisset Astengo, set up the sixth match point for them and Rahimi Wadidi smashed through the block. Police, despite trying their best, could not retrieve the ball, sending Al Rayyan players and fans into wild celebrations.

This was the fourth time in the season that Al Rayyan have beaten Police. The previous three occasions were once in the Super Cup and twice in the League.

Al Rayyan coach Carlos Schwanke was delighted with his team’s another title and unbeaten run. “Right before the season, we trained hard and got ready to face any tough moments in matches. That is working now well for us. We were in some difficulty in the fourth set but my players managed to avert it and won one more crown.

“No doubt this has been one of the most memorable seasons for us. But our work has not finished yet. We still have the Emir Cup and then the Asia Cup. We will try to do our best in these events as well,” Schwanke added.

Al Rayyan Club’s player cum team manager Ali Ishaq said, “I want to congratulate all my players and the members of the support staff. Their dedication and diligence are helping us win title after title. Police are a good side and the match was quite exciting too. We have been unbeaten and we’ll try to play like this as we have two more big event to play – the Emir Cup and the Asia Clubs Championship in Chinese Taipei in August.”

Police coach Damian Arredondo was satisfied with his team’s development work. “We came quite close to stretching Al Rayyan Club, who are really a high-class side. We fell short a bit. I’m happy with the way we bounced back into the match. We still have the Emir Cup and we’ll try to do better in that.”

Results

Al Rayyan Club beat Police 25-22, 25-21, 23-25, 28-26 in 104 minutes

Teams –

Al Rayyan Club:

Ivan Borovnjak, Marcus, Milos Stevanovic, Belal Abu Nabout, Ali Ishaq, Rahimi Wadidi, Bairama Faye, Andre Luiz, Milos Nikic, Suliman Saeed (L), Oueritani and Ahmed.

Head coach: Carlos Schwanke; Assistant coach: Toufik Benmessedak.

Police:

Bobi, Mads Ditlevsen, Moses, Vantislav, John Chigbo, Neto, Nadir Abubakr, Elakar, Nagi (L), Ziad.

Head coach: Damian Arredondo; Assistant coach: Pablo Gianelli