Hosts Qatar qualified for the men’s and women’s finals of the AVC Continental Cup Phase 1 Western Zone at Al Gharafa Beach Complex on Thursday, with their men’s team battling it out with Oman and the women’s side taking on Lebanon.
In the men’s event, the Qataris, spearheaded by the Tokyo Olympic bronze medallists and FIVB world No.3 Cherif Younousse/Ahmed Tijan, powered their way to the final clash following their dramatic 2-1 victory against Palestine on Tuesday.
Left, Qatar A’s Cherif/Ahmed and right, Qatar B
Qatar A’s Cherif and Ahmed beat Palestine A 2-0, but Qatar B’s Mahmoud Essam and Abdullah Nassim went down to Palestine B 1-2. The Golden Match was contested to decide the eventual winning team and Qatar’s Cherif and Ahmed came to the country’s rescue to beat Palestine B 2-0 for the eventual 2-1 victory to secure their finals berth.
Left, Oman A and right, Oman B
On Thursday, Qatar will be out to prove their talents against Oman in the men’s final clash. Oman also made their mark on Tuesday to capture a brilliant 2-0 win against Saudi Arabia.
The third-place playoff was held on Wednesday between the two losers, Palestine and Saudi Arabia, which saw the former brush off the latter 2-1 to pick up bronze medal. Saudi Arabia returned with the fourth place.
Palestine A team consisting of Ibrahim Qasi’a and Abdullah Al-Arqan struggled to beat Saudi Arabia A 2-1 (21-17, 19-21, 15-11) to give the Palestinians an initial 1-0 lead.
However, Saudi Arabia B saved the day for the team when they performed brilliantly to brush off Palestine B’s Talib Al-Najar and Muhammad Al-Qishawi 2-0 (21-12, 21-14) for a 1-1 tie.
The do-or-die Golden Match was held to determine the eventual winning team. Palestine, fielding their A team in this deciding match, got off to a strong start to clinch the first set 21-15, but Saudi Arabia A bounced back mightily to take the second set 21-14 to equalise the rivals 1-1.
The third set was closely-contested, with both sides taking turns leading. However, all eyes were on Palestine A’s Muhammad Al-Qishawi and Abdullah Al-Argan under the guidance of promising coach Abdul Rahman Tafesh when they remained in fine form to win the hard-fought decider 18-16 and help Palestine capture the third place and bronze medal.
Meanwhile, receiving the bye on Wednesday, the Qatar women’s team fielding Somaya Al-Madhoun and Dalama Yaghmour in Team A and Laila Mahmoud and Hana Al-Khater in Team B team will kick off their campaign on Thursday to challenge Lebanon in the final round.
The Lebanese side on Wednesday lived up to their expectation to beat Jordan 2-0, with their A team winning 2-0 (21-7, 21-10) and B team beating the rivals with the similar margin 2-0 (21-15, 21-15).
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