Qatar go down to Australia after gritty comeback
After rallying from two sets down, Camilo Soto's men suffer narrow defeat in opening match
A superb fightback from Qatar raised visions of a victory but Australia held their nerves to come out on top with a five-set verdict in their opening match of the Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship on Friday.
At the Azadi Sports Complex in Tehran, Australia won 25-23, 25-21, 23-25, 18-25, 15-10 to make a head start in Pool A.
Qatar had rallied from two sets down in brilliant fashion and the retaliation staggered the Australians. Uncertainty crept into their ranks and they fumbled in defence and service. Qatar were suddenly dictating terms.
In the fifth set though, the loss of a few early points saw Qatar lose their rhythm. The Australian defence and their spiker Williams rose to the occasion as the Volleyroos regained their confidence and momentum to march ahead.
|Australia bt Qatar||25-23, 25-21, 23-25, 18-25, 15-10.|
Although the teams were separated by just a point at different times in the first set, Australia were always in control. Qatar never looked like they could build a big lead and with spiker Edgar leading the way, Australia claimed the first set 25-23.Qatar could not regroup in the second set as Australia dominated and closed it out at 25-21. In the third, some good blocks by Qatar and poor serving by Australia gave the Maroons the advantage. Then came Ibrahim’s superb smashes and great serves. Australia had no answers and suddenly Qatar were ahead 17-13. Lack of understanding between the players, poor serves and wayward smashes surfaced from the Volleyroos, boosting Qatar’s tally. Camilo Soto’s men were back in the match after winning the set 25-23.
Qatar built on the momentum in the fourth while Australia lapsed into unforced errors again. Qatar led 5-2 and Australia’s attempts to draw level were foiled by a determined rival defence. Lunging, and diving, they seemed to retrieve every smash. The Aussies were left clueless as Qatar stayed ahead, built up a commanding lead at 18-12 and soon won the set 25-18.
Qatar had the advantage going into the decider but a few Australian surprises after 4-4 did them in. A good block off Mubarak’s smash, a powerful serve by Williams and another thunderbolt from the Australian left-handed spiker saw them wrest the advantage at 7-4. Qatar never recovered from that blow. The lead gave Australia a psychological edge as well. They rode on that to emerge 15-10 winners.
Qatar take on Iran in their second Pool A match on Saturday.