Doha: A thrilling match is on the cards when Al Arabi take on El Jaish in the final of the Qatar Cup at Al Arabi Indoor Stadium here today.
Al Arabi, eyeing their first silverware of the season, made it to the final after beating favourites Al Rayyan 2-0 in the best-of-three semi-finals.
In the first game, Arabi overcame a fighting Rayyan 3-2 (25-23, 21-25, 24-26, 25-11, 15-11) before winning the second 3-1 (16-25, 25-17, 25-18, 31-29).
El Jaish booked a place in the final by defeating Police by an identical 2-0 margin.
Jaish won the first game 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 25-22) before struggling in the second. They eventually won 3-1 (24-26, 25-20, 25-21, 25-17).
Coach of Al Arabi Mohammad Al Bahri said past records will not matter, as to who will the final, when the two teams clash in the final.
“The teams which will play to its tactical, technical plan and is psychologically strong will take the top honours,” said Al Bahri, while addressing reporters on the eve of the final.
His opposite number Ivan Joksimovic said the final will be touch and go affair and fans can hope for some exciting volleyball as his team has been improving with each match.
“We have been working hard during the training session and each of the practice we have been playing in tough match-like situations so that will help us in the final,” said the El Jaish trainer, ahead of the final.
Al Arabi player Cristian Savani, member of the bronze medal winning e Italian team at the 2012 London Olympics said he found the standard of the game in Qatar very high.
“I have played only two matches so far here in Qatar. But from the initial impression I have been able to make of the game the level is very good. I am coming here after playing in China League, where it was very low. I am happy to play here. The match against Al Rayyan was very tough,” said the 32-year-old.
Rayyan recently finished as runners-up at the Asian Clubs Championship.
Al Arabi have also boosted their ranks by signing Kenyan international Philip Maiyo. The opposite hitter earlier plied his trade in the Bulgarian and Romanian leagues.
“I want to help Al Arabi win the Qatar Cup. That’s on top of my agenda now. Our job is only half done. The big test will be the all-important final against El Jaish,” Maiyo said.
Today’s final will kick off at 6.30pm.The Peninsula