MATCH INFO

Al-Arabi Doha edge Al-Ahly Cairo in thrilling battle


Al-Arabi Doha captured a thrilling five-set victory over Al-Ahly Cairo in front of the host city's fans

Doha, Qatar, October 8, 2011 – Al-Arabi Doha of Qatar edged Al-Ahly Cairo of Egypt 25-23, 29-31, 26-24, 21-25, 15-12 in a tight battle full of emotion Saturday on the opening day of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship in Doha, Qatar.

Christan Pampel led Al-Arabi Doha with 30 points, while Jiri Popelka contributed 15 points and Gianluca Saraceni added 14 points.  Al-Ahly Cairo produced four points in double-figure scoring led by Ahmed Abdelhay’s 26 points. Ahmed Mohamad added 20 points, while Mohamed Ketat tacked on 17 points.

The teams combined for 51 blocks with Al-Ahly Cairo scoring 24 and Al-Arabi 17. Al-Arabi Doha held a slim 6-4 margin in aces. Both teams scored 59 spikes in the match.

Al-Ahly Cairo return to Pool B action on Oct. 10 against two-time defending champion Trentino Diatec . Al-Arabi Doha continue pool play on Oct. 9 against Sesi Sao Paulo. The top two clubs in the two four-team pools advance to the FIVB Club World Championship semifinals on Oct. 13.

Al-Arabi Doha reached the opening set’s first technical timeout leading 8-6 as both teams combined for seven errors. The home club surged to a seven-point cushion by the second technical timeout as Al-Ahly Cairo’s errors continued to mount to seven. Al-Ahly Cairo closed to 17-15 using a 6-1 scoring run, but Al-Arabi Doha rebuilt a four-point cushion at 20-16 thanks to an ace by Lukasz Kadziewicz. Al-Ahly Cairo narrowed their deficit to a single point at 24-23 with a Ketat service winner, but a Gianluca Saraceni spike from the right side closed the set at 25-23. Christian Pampel led Al-Arabi Doha with six spikes, while Al-Ahly Cairo’s Mahmoud Abd El Kader and Ketat each scored four points in the opening set. The two teams combined for 11 service errors in the set.

The second set remained close in the early stages until Al-Ahly Cairo built a six-point cushion to 16-10 on a 4-0 scoring run into the second technical timeout capped by Ahmed Mohamed’s ace. Al-Arabi Doha came out of the timeout by scoring the next two points to shave the deficit to 16-12. Al-Arabi Doha leveled the score at 19-all with a four-point scoring run capped by an ace by Davide Saitta. Tije Vlam rejected a Al-Aly Cairo attack to yield a 21-20 Al-Arabi Doha lead. Pampel slammed an attack to widen the Al-Arabi Doha lead to 22-20 prompting an Al-Ahly Cairo timeout.  Ketat blocked an Al-Arabi Doha attack to knot the score at 22-all. However, Pampel found open court with a spike and Vlam followed with an ace to produce Al-Arabi Doha set points at 24-22. Mohamed answered with a block as Al-Ahly Cairo saved two set points to tie the score at 24-all. Ahmed Abdelhay reversed the lead to Al-Ahly Cairo with a spike at 25-24. Pampel slammed a spike following an Al-Ahly Cairo foot fault on the serve to put Al-Arabi Doha in front 28-27. Abdelhay changed the lead back to Al-Ahly Cairo’s favor at 29-28 with a block. Mohamed blocked an Al-Arabi Doha attack for the set victory at 31-29. Abdelhay tallied a team-high seven points for Al-Ahly Cairo to offset Pampel’s 14 points for Al-Arabi Doha in the second set. Al-Ahly Cairo scored seven points on blocks.

Al-Arabi Doha slowly built a three-point lead at 7-4 to start the third set. Ketat served an ace to reduce the deficit to 8-7. Jiri Popelka pushed Al-Arabi to a 13-10 advantage following an ace. Ketat took a quick attack for a point to bring Al-Ahly Cairo back to within one at 14-13. However, Saitta blocked an attack to produce a 16-13 Al-Arabi Doha lead at the second technical timeout. Pampel hit through the Al-Ahly Cairo block to extend the Al-Arabi Doha advantage to 20-16 heading into a timeout. Mohamed scored a block and attack points to cap a furious 4-0 scoring run to level the score at 20-all. Al-Ahly Cairo went in front for the first time of the third set at 24-23 as Ketat put up a block. Al-Arabi Doha saved a set point, then Saraceni served an ace at 25-24. Popelka ended the third set with a block at 26-24.

The fourth set remained close until Al-Arabi Doha inched to a 14-10 lead on three unanswered points. Ketat and Ahmed scored back-to-back blocks to cut the deficit in half at 14-12. Al-Ahly Cairo moved to within one point following an Al-Arabi Doha attack that sailed long at 15-14, then an Ahmed block leveled the score at 15-all. Al-Ahly Cairo scored three unanswered points to obtain a 19-17 advantage. Abdellah Absalsa Bekhit served an ace to yield set points at 24-21, then Abdelhay followed immediately with a block at 25-21 for his sixth point and team’s fifth block of the set.

Mohamed put up a block to yield an Al-Ahly Cairo quick 2-0 advantage in the tiebreaker. Pampel rallied Al-Arabi Doha back to a tie at 2-all with a spike off the block. Al-Arabi Doha earned a 4-3 lead to reverse the advantage. Popelka slammed an attack and Vlam followed with a block leading to an Al-Arabi Doha 8-6 cushion at the court switch. Al-Ahly Cairo tied the set at 11-all. Popelka formed a massive block to yield set and match points at 14-12, then pounded the winner at 15-12.


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