Rayyan, Police hold off rivals to advance to Qatar Cup v’ball final

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Defending champions Al Rayyan Club and Police held off their respective rivals as they won the third of the best-of-three series and qualified for the final of the Qatar Cup Volleyball Championship on Tuesday.

At the QVA Indoor Hall, it was first Police, who overpowered a gritty Al Wakrah Club in four sets by 27-29, 25-18, 41-39, 25-19 in two hours and two minutes, while double winners Al Rayyan Club defeated three-time champions Al Arabi Club 25-20, 23-25, 25-21, 25-21 in 110 minutes.

On Friday, Police will take to the court against Al Rayyan in the final with an aim to exact revenge for the last year’s defeat.

Al Wakrah, who had beaten QVA League winners Police in the second match in a pulsating finish, seemed to have resumed the battle from there and went 1-0 ahead. They led even in the beginning of the second set.

Police however managed to stall the progress of Al Wakrah in the middle and edged 16-14 before wresting the set and knotting the scores 1-1.

Al Wakrah Club staged a thrilling comeback in the third after trailing 8-16 at a stage. But Mohamed al Hachdadi spearheaded their spirited rally and forced the deuce. From them the two were involved in an absorbing battle for straight two points. If Police went ahead, Al Wakrah negated it and the latter moved forward, Police went on to deny the rivals a win.

However the marathon set finally ended in 43 minutes with Police coming through and they progressed to impose themselves in the fourth before sealing their victory in over two hours.

Four of the Police players contributed in double digits. Willner led the scoring with 33, while John Chigbo had 17, Oivanen collected 16 and Nadir Abubacker earned 14.

For Al Wakrah, Hachdadi was again the star contributor with 35 points. Abdulrahman added 13 and Tamsir got 11.

Al Rayyan, after sharing the first two sets with Al Arabi, were 16-13 ahead but fell behind by a point in the third at crucial stage (20-21). However, the double Arab club championship winners bounced back and reeled off five points in a row to forge 2-1 ahead.

The fourth set saw Al Rayyan dictate the terms to Al Arabi and they former defended their lead to post the victory in one hour and 50 minutes, with Rychlicki netting 22 points and Bukasinovic landing 15.

For Al Arabi, Stern was the prime contributor as he recorded 22 points. Bassam and Rafael could add only nine each.