Qatar go down to India in international friendly
Hosts let go of advantage to suffer narrow defeat at Al Arabi Sports Club.
Qatar went down to India in a tough five-set contest in the first of two friendly volleyball ties at the Al Arabi Sports Club on Monday. India won 25-23, 23-25, 23-25, 25-15, 15-13.
Qatar should have closed out the match in the fourth set, having gained a two-set advantage. But a rotation of his key players by coach Camilo Soto saw India wrest control.
The substitutions seemed to have backfired judging by the huge difference in points at the end of the fourth set. Soto thought he would reap the rewards in the decider and Qatar almost seemed to have the match under control. But they faltered at the finish and went down by two points.
“We won two sets yes, but you need to play well in the key points. That’s what decided the match in India’s favour,” said Soto.
But the coach also defended his players. “We have only been training for one month and did not have match practice. This is our first match after a long time. The players were a little rusty,” he said.
“We had to rotate the players to keep them fresh for the challenge in the decider but that did not work too well,” Soto added about the substitutions in the third set.
Indian coach Dragan Mihailovic was happy with the win but was disappointed with the loss of two sets. “There is a problem with the reception. We need to work on that,” he said.
“What made me happy was the way the substitutes played. That helped us keep the pressure on our opponents when we were rotating our players,” said Mihailovic.
Abubaker and Ibrahim were the aces in Qatar’s pack on the day. Their smashes and serves pierced the Indian defence. There was power and there was deception. India were left wondering as to what would surface next and Qatar capitalised from the confusion.
- India bt Qatar
25-23, 23-25, 23-25, 25-15, 15-13.
Setting up the two spikers nicely were Milos and Belal who also came up with clever placements at the net. Belal chipped in with solid blocks as well, with Mubarak lending a hand to his teammate to keep the Indian spikers at bay. Mubarak’s smashes too found their mark very often.
Ajitlal Chandran bailed India out whenever they were in trouble. In the second set especially, with his team trailing 12-17, he singlehandedly helped them bridge the gap. Three successive smashes from the right and left helped India narrow the margin. Captain Ukkarapandian Mohan, who himself did a splendid job at the net, then used some clever placements and India were back in the match at 18-18. But Qatar’s spikers were again on target to help the hosts close out the set at 25-23.
With the momentum in their favour, Qatar kept going and although they surrendered the lead in stages, they claimed the third set 25-23.
The fourth was a struggle for Qatar. Milos, Belal, Mubarak and Ibrahim were given a breather. India attacked relentlessly and were soon ahead at 11-6. Try as they could, Qatar failed to fend off the smashes and India cruised to a 25-15 win.
With Qatar’s aces back for the decider, they gained the advantage and were 8-7 ahead. Mohan however set up his spikers very well and India edged ahead at 14-13. The last time-out did not help Qatar and they went down 13-15.