Qatar go down to Iran in straight sets
The Maroons fail to make it to the last eight in Asia, marking an end to their Olympic hopes.
Qatar went down to hosts Iran 18-25, 15-25, 17-25, in their second Pool ‘A’ encounter, ruling them out of the quarterfinal round in the Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship at the Azadi Sports Complex in Tehran on Saturday.
Only the top eight teams make it to the Olympic qualifying tournament in Jiangmen (China) in January where the winner will earn a ticket to the Tokyo Games next year.
From Pool ‘A’ Iran and Australia made it to the last eight, winning both their games so far.
Qatar and Sri Lanka, having lost both their matches, are out of contention. They face each other in their last group match tomorrow.
|Iran bt Qatar||25-18, 25-15, 25-17|
Qatar found their rhythm very late against the hosts. They came to life only in the third set, having lost the first two, and by then it was too little too late for them.
It was the only time in the match that Qatar seemed to dominate and create some panic in the Iran ranks.
Qatar’s urgency at the start of the third set helped them to stay just a point behind the hosts and by midway through they even caught up with them.
Mubarak, who had been blocked out by the Iran defenders till then, suddenly found an opening. Helped by a powerful smash from Belal and good cover in the back court Qatar drew level at 9-9.
A deep serve by Mahmoud Essam and a failed smash by Iran saw Qatar lead 11-9.
An anxious Iran coach Igor Kolakovich quickly called for a time out. His instructions during the break, seemed to have worked well as Iran drew level at 11-11.
Qatar did not give up though. They came up with some effective smashes, Belal setting up Mubarak and Ibrahim for perfect executions.
But Iran regrouped quickly and, as in the first two sets, shut out Mubarak with fine blocks. They also relied more on clever lobs and placements to deceive the Qatar defence, wresting control of the match and speeding away to a 25-17 win.
Qatar’s slow start in the first two sets was their undoing. They allowed Iran to work up huge leads. In the first set, the hosts built a six-point lead (18-12) and steadily marched ahead to win at 25-18.
In the second, Qatar trailed 3-10 and could never regain their lost ground. Iran spikers Milad and Ghafour regularly found the gaps in the Qatar back court.
For Qatar, setter Milos did come up with some clever attempts at the net in a bid to unsettle the rival defence, but he could not succeed as the Iranians read every move of him and easily thwarted him.