Fancied Qatar falter against Kazakhstan
The teams battled hard in the classification match with the Central Asian outfit holding firm in the key moments to snatch a win.
Qatar went down 21-25, 23-25, 25-13, 22-25 to Kazakhstan in a classification match in the Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship at the Azadi Hall in Tehran on Wednesday.
Qatar have one more match to play in the classification round, against Sri Lanka, before the final playoff for positions 9 to 16 begin. Qatar, who were placed in Pool G with Oman, Kazakhstan and Sri Lanka have one win from two matches.
Qatar, ranked five places above Kazakhstan in the FIVB list at 34, were expected to take their opponents in their stride. The 2018 Asian Cup champions however faced stiff resistance.
Kazakhstan surprised Qatar in the first set and never allowed them to get a foothold in the set. They sped away and held firm to wrap up the set even as Qatar started regrouping and piling on the points later on.
Given the first set score, a keen battle was on the cards in subsequent sets. Expectedly, Qatar came hard at their opponents. They even outwitted them on many occasions and seemed to be nearing their goal of drawing set scores. Kazakhstan however displayed fine temperament under pressure. Even as Qatar closed in, they stayed ahead on the points and just about snatched the set at 25-23.
In the third, Kazakhstan were a pale shadow of themselves. Qatar bounced back and established a firm lead. Kazakhstan failed to bridge the deficit fast enough and Qatar raced to a 25-13 win.
With the momentum on their side, Qatar were expected to win the fourth set too. They did take the lead several times but just could not shake their opponents off their backs. Kazakhstan stayed close behind the maroon shirts till they pulled away after 14-14. Qatar’s efforts to wrest control again were futile as Kazakhstan established a 21-17 lead. Qatar attempted a turnaround thereafter but it did not materialize and they lost the set and match at 22-25.