Taipei, Chinese Taipei, April 24, 2019 – Al-Rayyan proved superiority over Sri Lanka Ports Authority Sports Club after annihilating the determined rivals in three sets 25-14 25-22 25-12 in the quarter-finals of the 2019 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship at the University of Taipei (Tianmu) Gymnasium on Wednesday.
Brazilian Mascus Costa chipped in with 13 points from11 attacks and 2 aces for Al-Rayyan, with Montenegro’s Marko Vukasinovic making good company to add 10 points. Lasindu Wasanthapriya led Sri Lanka Ports Authority Sports Club with 11 points, all from powerful attacks.
In this crucial match against the Sri Lankans, Al-Rayyan fielded a strong lineup led by attacking machine Kamil Rychlicki, powerful Mascus Costa from Brazil and hard-attacking Youssef Oughlaf. Sri Lanka Ports Authority Sports Club were strengthened by two Sri Lanka national team players, Janitha Surath and Lasindu Wasanthapriya.
Al-Rayray, taking the height advantage of 195cm against the rivals’ 184cm, took command from the first set, thanks mainly to the imposing presence of Costa and Rychlicki, who kept finding places to put the ball away. After jumping to an initial 19-10 lead, the Qataris grew in confidence and went on their superb skills and fine attacks to seal the comfortable first set 25-14.
Going down one set, Sri Lanka Ports Authority Sports Club bounced back initially, taking an advantage from a good chance when the Qataris’ nerves began to fray, to catch the much taller rivals at 11-11. From then onwards, both sides came up with almost the same standard as they played neck and neck which made the on-going game a see-saw battle. Taking a narrow 20-18 lead, Al-Rayyan stretched it to 24-21 and allowed the brave rivals only one more point before Costa slammed a sharp blow to help the team take the hard-fought set 25-22.
The third set was an easy job for Al-Rayyan as Ahmed Noaman punctured the Sri Lankan defence into shreds with his fierce attacks and Mubarak Hammad and Costa produced terrific jump serves which always went without responding. The Qataris led initially 21-10 before the Sri Lankans pulled their game together. Still, their intention was in vain as Al-Rayyan continued their superb form, with Belal Abunabot netting the team’s last point from his well-placed serve to capture the set 25-12 and match.
After the match, the 206cm-tall Kamil Rychlicki, who hails from Luxembourg, said, “It’s good to win this match and my team now make it to the semi-finals. We are happy to win since we have achieved our first goal and tomorrow we have to continue. We are likely to take on Panasonic Panthers in the semi-finals on Thursday. I think the Japanese team are one of the strongest teams in the tournament. So, I suppose that we have to play with 100% to beat them and I think it’s possible.”
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