Arabi crowned league champs
DOHA AL ARABI Club, which had already been assured of the Premier Volleyball League crown ahead of the last match, failed to round off the first major event of the season on a winning note, losing to Al Rayyan Club 2-3 on Sunday.
At its own court, Al Arabi experimented with a combination of its first and second string players.
They fought well but could not come up with suitable replies to Raidel Poey’s brilliant spiking and lost by 18-25 25-23 20-25 29-27 11-15.
It was Al Arabi’s 24th crown and fifth in a row. At the closing ceremony, Qatar Volleyball Association President Khalid Ali al Mawlawi presented the winners with a purse of QR300,000. Al Rayyan took the runner-up spot and bagged QR 200,000. Al Ahli finished in third place and earned QR100,000.
Al Arabi had to battle throughout the match and felt the pressure as Al Rayyan twice forged ahead by winning the first and third sets.
Arabi raised its levels to tie the scores both times.
The fourth set of the match was the highlight and when Arabi clinched it at 29-27, it was being anticipated that the host would not carry on the momentum through Christian Pampel, Juma Faraz and Rafael Leonardo. Both the teams had their chances to win it. Arabi twice looked like clinching it but Rayyan foiled it. Even Rayyan could have also won it and sealed the match in four sets. Arabi however lost the service.
And then twice Rayyan setter Tomas botched up his lifts and Arabi from 27-27 progressed to win the set and make it 2-2.
In the middle of the decider, Rayyan grabbed a 7-5 advantage but Arabi clawed its way back and equalised the scores four times. At 11-11, Ali Ishaq intelligently played a drop to put Rayyan ahead. Then Poey and Ishaq rose to foil Pampel’s spike.
Rayyan reached the match-point as Saeed Salem fouled on his smash. It won the match with Pampel hitting the ball out.
Rayyan coach Igor Arbutina commented after the match: “I’m happy that we could beat Arabi at last. But the way we played I’m not satisfied. We used both the setters.
If I had more players, I’d have tried them too. I congratulate Arabi for being consistent in the season and being the deserving winner.
“Now we have to focus on the upcoming Cup events (the Heir Apparent Cup and the Emir Cup).
We’ve made changes in the team and we have got Igor Omercen from Croatia and Lionel Marshal (Cuba). I hope we’ll perform better and try to win them.” German Olympian Pampel was delighted to have played his part in Arabi’s another league title victory.
“I’m glad that we won the League again. But I’m angry with out bad game. I hate losing matches.” Al Arabi coach Adel Sennoun said, “This was the first loss of the season for my team. We played our second team and had a good match. We lost 2-3 against Al Rayyan which fielded its full team.” “We have planned two changes in the Arabi team. Osmany Juantorena and Ivan Milijkovic.
We’ll do our best in the remaining tournaments as well,” said the Arabi coach.
Al Arabi Team: Saeed Juma, Renan Rebeiro, Jumah Faraj, Christian Pampel, Ibrahim Saeed, Hisham Mohd (libero), Leonardo, Mohd Faisal, Saeed Saleh, Mohammad Mahmoud, Ghanim al Rumaihi, Abdul Aziz.
Al Rayyan: Usman Azab, Ali Assadi, Raidel Poey, Sayeed Waleed, Abdul Rashid, Ali Ishaq, Mohd Amr, Tomas, Ali Hamid, Slobodan, Mahmoud Abdullah, Suleman Sayed (libero).