Taipei, Chinese Taipei, April 22, 2019 – Indomitable Al-Rayyan proved a cut above Taichung Bank as the Qataris pulled out a dramatic 3-1 (25-16 25-17 22-25 25-15) win in their last top-8 playoff match at the 2019 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship at the University of Taipei (Tianmu) Gymnasium on Monday.

Brazilian Marcus Costa emerged as the top scorer of Al-Rayyan after contributing 17 points for the Qataris including 14 attacks from 23 attempts, while Kamil Rychlicki added 13 points including 9 kills from 16 attempts. Wu Tsung-Hsuan led Taichung Bank with 14 points including 10 kills and 3 aces.

Playing in front of their faithful fans, Taichung Bank, powered by star spiker Wu Tsung-Hsuan, tried hard to tactically and technically match the mighty Al-Rayyan, led by the 206cm-tall, powerful hitter Kamil Rychlicki from Luxembourg and Brazilian Marcus Costa, but the the superb duo showed their heroic efforts as they used their incredible reach and leap to punish the host team with some powerful spikes. Taichung Bang responded with fine attacks from talented Wu, but their fightback was short-lived as the Qataris attacked relentlessly from all angles to win the first set 25-16.

Al-Rayyan still dominated the second set, with Youssef Oughlaf carrying out terrific jump serves which allowed the host side difficulties to receive. As the Qataris surged ahead Taichung Bank with seven points ahead at 21-14, the hosts held their nerves and hit back with combination attacks and efficient drops to narrow the margin to 16-24. Taichung Bank saved one set-point before going down 17-25.

Taichung Bank clawed their way back into the match In the third set. An enormous stuff block from Chen Cheng-Chi received a round of applause from the crowd inside the venue, while Wu Tsung-Hsuan worked wonder with his exceptional attacking skill as the left-hander methodically tore the Qatari defence apart with his precise cross-court spikes to lead Taichung Bank to a three-point clear at 21-24. However, a powerful jump serve from Wu went wide, giving the Qataris another chance to come up nearer at 22-24, but shortly after that home fans jumped for joy, seeing a spike from the Qataris go wide. Taichung Bank snatched the thrilling set 25-22.

Going down one set, Al-Rayyan were just never-say-die as they struck back in the fourth set with thundering attacks from Costa and Oughlaif and scintillating blocks from Andre Franca and Birama Faye to lead the host side all the way. As the Qataris raced to a 24-15 lead, Youssef Oughlaf slammed a strong hit to eventually stop the Taichung Bank’s good run. Al-Rayyan captured the set 25-15 and match.

After the match, Al-Rayyan’s head coach Carlos Eduardo was satisfied with his players’ form. “It was a difficult match because the home team had a special energy and they are a young team. My team had to use a strong point to end their energy since if we let them go, they would come confident and too strong to cope with tactically. So, we used our strong serves to weaken their reception. Ahead of the match, I was also expecting a hard match because Taichung Bank are a young team with talents. So, we had to beat them from the first set. My game plan for the next match is to do our best one at a time and move forward with confidence.”

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