DOHA: Qatari clubs Eljaish and Al Sadd played out a thrilling 22-22 draw at the IHF Super Globe at Al Gharafa Sports Hall, yesterday.
Eljaish tied for the second time after their draw against HSV Hamburg, and both the Qatari clubs and the European champions, who won yesterday, can still advance to the semi-finals.
In other results yesterday, African club champions Etoile Sportive du Sahel beat Qatar’s Al Rayyan 30-23 to reach the semi-finals.
The result eliminates Al Rayyan who suffered their second straight defeat.
Also in the semi-finals are Barcelona Intersport, who defeated Brazil’s Taubate 32-18.
In the Eljaish, Al Sadd match, the first 20 minutes were imprinted by brilliant goalkeeper performances of Al Sadd goalkeeper Jose Javier Hombrados and his opposite number Dan Beutler.
Al Sadd dominated the match early on but Eljaish managed to catch up, yet was not able to take the lead.
After some brilliant saves by Hombrados, Al Sadd marched ahead to 12-9, but Eljaish equalised at 13-13.
Eljaish fans celebrated the first lead of their team in the 42nd minute, when Slim Hedoui hit the net for a 16-15.
The lead changed constantly – and 10 minutes before the end, Eljaish coach Akkeb Kamel sentBeutler back with the score of 19:18 for Al Sadd. The goalkeeper started with a highly important save, energising his team in the crucial stage.
The tactical change was soon having the positive effect for Eljaish. A triple strike by Ahmed Elahmar helped his team turn the match around to lead 21-19 in four minutes.
Al Sadd equalised again at 21-21 and 22-22, and Eljaish had to play the final 90 seconds with one man down.
Kamel took his final time-out 33 seconds before the end, but his team missed their last shot against Hombrados.
Al Sadd had the last attack, but Beutler saved the point by clearing Hedoui’s shot.
Elsewhere, Etoile Sportive du Sahel were inspired by their goalkeeper’s performance of Majed Hamza and Mohamed Tajouri. Al Rayyan was inspired by their Russian playmaker Vasili Filipov.
The African club champions played with a higher speed butcould not outdistance their opponent despite an intermediate four goal advance.
With the half-time score 18-15 in favour to Etoile, nothing changed initially after the break,.
Etoile was slightly dominant, but still felt the hot Al Rayyan’s breath in their necks.
Etoile led 25-20 until a 48th minute strike by Ali Zeinelabedin which caused a time-out by Al Rayyan coach Iljia Puljevic.
But nothing changed, and Etoile held on for the win.