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Qatar sign off with silver as USA clinch thriller for men’s volleyball gold

Qatar sign off with silver as USA clinch thriller for men’s volleyball gold

Raajiv Tripathi
DOHA
Cherif Younousse’s heroics narrowly fell short as Qatar went down fighting to the USA 18-21, 24-26 in a dramatic men’s beach volleyball gold medal match at the ANOC World Beach Games on Wednesday.
There was no space left at the Katara Cultural Village court on the beachfront with an equally large crowd watching the exciting proceedings from the outside. Younousse fired the gathering with his superlative performance and collected a massive 23 points, including 18 off the attack.
However, the USA, armed with both experience and abilities, came through the cliff-hanger to cause a heartbreak to the home team and its fans.
Taylor Crabb, who had 12 points and was the second best scorer after Brian Cook’s 15, is one half of the world-ranked 13th team. In their ranks is FIVB Beach Tour and AVP great Casey Patterson. Besides, they have McKibbin brothers, Riley and Maddison, and Troy Field, who are known faces not only on the regular circuit but also the Snow Tour where they have won two gold medals.
Qatar only had Younousse as an established name in their fold after his partner and winner of three World Beach Tour bronze medals Ahmed Tijan could to contest due to knee injury. Other players have had the a limited experience of the sport as they have just started playing.
Even the team had gathered about three weeks before the ANOC event and tried to do as best as it could. The left-handed live-wire Younousse continued to raise his game.
Even in the final, Younousse showed what he could do alone and if their was matching support, he could have done wonders to Qatar, who saved five match points before Sefeddine Elmajid smashed the ball out, handing the Americans the gold medal.
Qatar’s coach Mariano Baracetti consoled his players by saying, “It was a great final. We played superbly but our best was not enough. Though we had beaten the Americans in the pool play, they have changed their tactics and roster. Now they were more balanced than before.
“If we had taken the second set, anything could have happened.
“We tried our best within our limited resources. I feel the silver medal is still a creditable finish for us. We’ll try to build more strongly on this. Also I hope the FIVB would try to develop this format further in future as this has a good potential to grow,” he added.
Qatar’s setter Denis Messalmani regretted being understrength. “The loss of Tijan was felt. We did not have matching bench strength as the Americans had. Still we played a superb game and tried to stretch them as much as we could.”
Besides Younousse, Elmajid collected 10 points and Ziad Benlouaer had two of the seven blocks that Qatar effected in the match. The Americans had a better number in blocks - 11, which really tilted the match in their favor.
Indonesia shock Poland
Rendy Licardo bagged 19 points and plotted the downfall of strong Poland, bagging the men’s bronze medal with a 21-13, 19-21, 15-11 victory.
Yosi Ariel Firnanda added nine and Ketut Ardana logged seven, which enabled the Asian team to come through when the going became quite tight.
For Poland, Mikolaj Miszczuk was the leading scorer. He had 22, including 19 from 29 attacks. Milosz Kruk notched up nine and Mateusz Florczyk gained five.
“We just can’t believe that we have won the bronze medal of the World Beach Games. This is our biggest success. Our team consists of young players and this medal will inspire us to work harder for more triumphs in future,” Licardo gushed after the match.
Canada pulled off a brilliant recovery and went on to overcome the Australian challenge in the women’s gold medal match by 17-21, 21-15, 16-14.
The bronze medal was bagged by the USA when they handed a 21-16, 21-9 thrashing to Brazil in the third-place playoff.ResultsGold medal match: USA beat Brazil 2-0 (21-16, 21-9)
Women’s bronze medal match: Canada beat Australia 2-1 (17-21, 21-15, 16-14)
Men’s Gold medal match: USA beat Qatar 2-0 (21-18, 26-24)
Men’s bronze medal match: Indonesia beat Poland 2-1 (21-13, 19-21, 15-11)

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