Sri Lanka came back strongly after the defeat to Saudi Arabia, to beat United Arab Emirates (UAE) in straight sets in the quarter final of the ‘1st Asian Men’s Volleyball Challenge Cup 2018’, at the Sugathadasa Stadium.
Saudi Arabia came from a set down to defeat Sri Lanka 3-1….
Sri Lanka lost 3-1 (22-25, 25-22, 25-19 & 25-20) to Saudi Arabia in their final ‘group A’ match to finish 2nd in the group. The hosts were without three of their main players in Deepthi Romesh, Wasantha Lakmal and Lasindu Methmal Wasanthapriya due to injury.
The three recovered sufficiently to face UAE, and Sri Lanka was back to their full strength. Sri Lanka and UAE matched each other point to point for most of the match. However, in the latter stages Sri Lanka upped their defense to secure a 6-point gap, which proved vital as they won the 1st set 25-20.
The 2nd set was much like the same as the 1st, the attacks and blocks from the hosts were too hot to handle for UAE as they lost 25-17. Down on confidence, UAE suffered from the start of the 3rd set as Sri Lanka built a healthy lead.
The lead swelled to 10-points and there was no way back for UAE. Sri Lanka went on to win the 3rd set 25-15, to book a place in the semi-final tomorrow (20th Sep).
For Sri Lanka, Lasindu Methmal scored 14-points from 10 attacks and 4 blocks. Deepthi Romesh added 9-ponits from 8 attacks and 1 ace. For UAE Mohamed Khamis scored 7-points from attacks.
Head Coach of Sri Lanka Dejan Vulicevic had this to say:
“This was an important match for us. If we lost we would be out of the tournament. In the beginning of the 1st set we made some mistakes, but after that we came back to win. Emirates (UAE) played good matches, especially first two matches. After they went down we kept our level.
Only Deepthi (Romesh) is in a dangerous situation, but we will look into his leg after it cools down, if he feels pain or not. But never mind, we have another player to play. But we will try to recover him to play, because tomorrow (20th Sep) is the most important match for us. We have trained for 7-months for this semi-final, and to move into the final.
This was our best game and the best opponent we faced (in the tournament). It is a big surprise how they played (UAE), but we must give our best against Iraq (semi-final).”
In the other quarter finals Saudi Arabia defeated Mongolia 25-17, 25-17 & 25-15 and Iraq beat Malaysia 25-17, 25-21, 25-23 & 25-20. Bangladesh defeated Hong Kong 25-22, 25-20 & 25-16.
In the 5thto 8th place semi-finals Mongolia meet Hong Kong and UAE meet Malaysia. In the 1st to 4th place semi-finals, Sri Lanka meet Iraq and Saudi Arabia meet Bangladesh.