Kuwait Club celebrate their victory over Dar Kulaib
Bangkok, Thailand, March 17, 2023 – Determined Kuwait Club overcame daunting challenge from Dar Kulaib to narrowly edge past the Bahraini side in hard-fought five-set thriller to set up a highly-anticipated final showdown with powerhouses Al Rayyan SC in the first edition of the West Asia Men’s Club Volleyball Championship at the Sports Palace Hall in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Kuwait Club, left, and Al Rayyan SC set for final clash
Contesting a do-or-die semifinal clash on Thursday, Kuwait Club, offensively strong with the likes of Iranian left-hander Saber Kazermi, who steered Iran to victory at the 2021 Asian Senior Men’s Championship in Japan and also led Iran’s Foolad Sirjan to their unprecedented title at the Asian Men’s Club Championship in Thailand in the same year, and Chinese national player Liu Libin, secured their Final spot in this inaugural tournament following their dramatic 3-2 win against Dar Kulaib.
Kuwait Club made a solid start with a comfortable 25-17 win in the first set before Dar Kulaib hit back to take the closely-contested second set 26-24. However, the Kuwaitis regrouped and responded with aggression and consistent play for the third-set win 25-21 to stretch it to 2-1 lead.
Dar Kulaib, former consecutive two-time Crown Prince’s Cup champions in Bahrain, taught the tough rivals victory never comes easily as they turned things around and bounced back gallantly with attacks and effective blocks to win the fourth set 25-20, forcing the tie-breaker to determine the eventual winners.
In the deciding set, Kuwait Club and Dar Kulaib similarly played cool under pressure, avoiding to make unforced mistakes. The on-going battle was more thrilling when both sides gave it all-out to win the set. However, Kuwait Club played a bit more consistently and confidently at the home stretch to win the thrilling decider 15-13, the see-saw match and a berth in the final showdown.
In the second semifinal match, unbeaten Al Rayyan, which finished fifth at the last year’s Asian Men’s Club Championship in Iran, proved much stronger against Police Union in the all-Qataris battle to brush off the former four-time Qatar Volleyball League champions in straight sets 25-21, 25-19, 25-18.
Earlier, South Gas of Iraq, which finished 7th place at the last year’s Asian Men’s Club Championship, cruised past hosts Jordan’s Al Wehdat in thrilling four-setter 25-23, 24-26, 25-17, 25-21 in the classification round for 5th-8th places.
South Gas will next go up against Shabab Al Hussain in the Friday’s 5th-6th playoff match. The Jordanian side on Thursday defeated Oman Club in straight sets 25-20, 25-14, 25-21.
On Friday, the final day of the inaugural championship, Qatar’s Al Rayyan SC will face off with Kuwait Club in the final clash of the two unbeaten teams to fight for the first-ever title of the West Asia Men’s Club Championship.
The third-place playoff clash sees Qatar’s Police Union battle it out with Bahrain’s Dar Kulaib for the bronze medal, with South Gas of Iraq challenging Jordan’s Shabab Al Hussain in the 5th-6th place playoff and Jordan’s Al Wehdat taking on Oman Club to fight for the 7th position.
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