DUBAI // The UAE on Saturday night got off to a successful start at the 2013 Asian Men’s Volleyball Championship with a 3-1 win over Uzbekistan at Hamdan bin Mohammed Sports Complex in Dubai.
The host nation and their opponents were both guaranteed progress to the round of 16 after a host of withdrawals had left them the only two teams in Group A.
In front of a modest crowd, the two teams played out four sets in which the UAE generally dominated. In the first set, the UAE, lead by the excellent Mohamed Al Memari – sporting “M. Shamal” on his No 15 shirt – and Jamal Al Ashamsi, started brightly but were met by a determined Uzbekistan team who gave as good as they got for long periods.
The teams remained closely matched until the UAE reeled of four consecutive points to close out the set 25-21.
Uzbekistan had their own imposing individuals in Ahrorjon Sobirov and Elyor Abdurahmanov and the second set proved to be even closer than the first.
With Amer Al Marzoouqi, the pick of the Emirati players, taking centre stage, the UAE however showed resistance and attacking flair which kept them on top. A string of successful spikes from Al Marzoouqi saw the UAE seal a marathon set 28-26.
In the third set, the UAE were consistently playing catch up and Uzbekistan forced a fourth set by clinching it 25-22.
The home team would not be denied, and in the fourth set took an early lead which they never relinquished. Man-of-the-match Al Marzoouqi and Mohamed Juma maintained momentum throughout and the UAE ran out 25-19 winners of the fourth set.
The UAE next play on Tuesday against the runners-up of Group H which contains Thailand and Lebanon.