Qatar bounce back from semi-finals miss to stage straight-set win against Korea
Qatar bounced back from the pain of missing out on the semi-finals slot after their tie-breaking defeat by China yesterday to script a well-composed 3-0 (25-16, 32-30, 25-22) win against Korea at the 21st Asian Senior Men's Volleyball Championship in Chiba Port Arena in Chiba, Japan in the early hours of today.
Qatar will now look for the best possible finish as they gun for victory in the 5th-6th place classification match tomorrow.
The coach Camilo Andres Soto men had surprisingly thrown away a 2-1 lead in the quarterfinal stage – Pool E match, courtesy of some error-strewn performances in the fourth set, to end up losing 2-3 (26-28, 25-21, 28-26, 19-25, 10-15) against the Chinese yesterday. The loss put paid to their chances of a podium finish at the eight-day tournament, which ends tomorrow.
Zhang Jiangyin, who scored 26 points, was the hero of the day for the Chinese in the match as he connected quite consistently with his attacks, while captain Jiang Chuan added 23 points.
It was, however, a different kettle of fish for the Qatari side against the Koreans in the last match in the pool as they controlled the tempo of the game from the first set, running their plays quite effectively as they left their opponents with minimal momentum to work upon.
Youssef Oughlaf led Qatar with 16 points, while Renan Ribeiro (11 points) and Abdulwahid Osman (10) contributions aided the convincing win. Korea's Han Kukmin charted a total of 24 points in the loss.
Qatar initiated their offence from the right flank with Oughlaf, while Ribeiro and Nikola Vasic helped with the passing unit. Coach Camilo Andres Soto also brought in Ahmed Noaman Gamal and Abdulwahid Osman to reinforce their block defence.
Korea relied on their usual heavy-hitters, as Han Kukmin and Kim Dongmin got the start from coach Park Sam Ryong.
In the second set, Korea tried to improve their play, passing the ball better to start engaging in the middle attack. However, they still needed to find better workarounds to address their opponents' blocking, which made them, in some instances, misfire their attacks in their search for variation. They also started to serve long or into the net, which further fizzled out their momentum.
Qatar stuck to their plays to the wing attack, and rarely utilized combinations, simply because those were working well for them. They also posted good coverage, which helped them play well in transition.
Korea worked their way back into the set as Kim Dongmin delivered his attacks in and against the opponents' blockers. Their backcourt also provided excellent support in keeping the passes tight and precise.
Korea went ahead to grab the set point, but Qatar's Oughlaf unleashed from the right to equalize and extend the set.
The Qatar side went on to take the second set, 32-30, off Korea's haywire attack.
Qatar retained their quality and composure to maintain a slight edge over the opponents in the next set. Ribeiro was just as reliable in passing and hitting. Nadir Ababacar Sadikh reinforced the offence with his attacks.
Korea tried to play along with this tempo, making quick, good decisions in the counter-attack. They were able to save a set point until Ribeiro swung from the left side for Qatar's 25-22 win in the final set.
Qatar's best record in the competition came via a fourth-place finish at the 2015 edition in Tehran, Iran.
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