Dubai: Unbeaten F3 ‘A’ secured their place in the volleyball semi-finals with an exciting 3-0 (25-19, 25-17, 35-33) win against new entrants Raptor on the second day at the Sixth Nad Al Sheba (NAS) Sports Tournament, at the Nas Sports Complex, late on Saturay.
Cruising after winning the first two sets, F3 ‘A’ suddenly saw Raptor claw back into contention as they overcame a four-point deficit in the third to draw level at 24-24. From then on, it was uninterrupted excitement with F3 ‘A’ finally sealing a hard-fought third set 35-33 to finish with two wins from as many matches in Group A. Raptor will now have to play defending champions Surprise to decide the second team to advance into the semi-finals from the group.
“I am particularly happy with the way we have been playing as one compact team. The first part of our plan is now complete,” F3 ‘A’s Tunisian coach Mansali Ahmad said.
“Now we need to recover and wait for the other three semi-finalists to be decided before we work out our schedule for the crucial knockout stages,” he added.
Later in the night, from being nearly down and out after losing the first two sets, Spinneys staged a superb comeback for a 3-2 win against Leader Sport. Khalid Saleh Yousuf Al Ali’s new side were comfortably placed to ensure full points in Group B after winning the first two sets with identical scores of 25-21. Serving for the set and match, their Cuban star Yoendri Alvares sent his serve into the net. With their backs against the wall, Spinneys hung in there and fought gamely to take the third set 26-24.
“That was one moment we were looking forward to. We were doing well as a team, but we had to make those minor adjustments before we got the formation right,” Spinneys’ German-based star of the match Salvador Hidalgo told Gulf News.
“Once that set was in our pocket, we knew we had to continue the same way and victory would be ours. We don’t want to look too much into this, but we know we will have to improve quite a bit to ensure we book our place in the knockouts,” he added.
Meanwhile in the padel competition, Emilio Misas and Carlos Luna started off their campaign with a smooth 6-1, 6-2 win against Shaikh Saeed Bin Hasher Al Maktoum and Omar Sharif, while Mohammad Al Mansouri and Guillermo Villafane also ended on the winning side with a 6-4, 6-1 result against Sachin Talwar and Dean MacFarlane. In the teams’ competition, the Por5 team got off to a good start with a 2-0 win over Sky Team.
(Volleyball) Spinneys def. Leader Sport 3-2 (21-25, 21-25, 26-24, 25-19, 15-12); F3 ‘A’ def. Raptor 3-0 (25-19, 25-17, 35-33).
(Padel) Emilio Misas/Carlos Luna bt Shaikh Saeed Bin Hasher Al Maktoum/Omar Sharif 6-1, 6-2; Mohammad Al Mansouri/Guillermo Villafane bt Sachin Talwar and Dean MacFarlane 6-4, 6-1. (Teams) Por5 bt Sky Team 2-0.