IN A CRUCIAL Qatar League match billed as the clash of titans, Al Rayyan beat Al Arabi 23-25, 25-19, 22-25, 25-16, 15-12 last week.
In another match, Police lost to El Jaish 24-26, 25-19, 16-25, 22-25 to throw the league table wide open, with three teams in title contention and two more rounds to be played.
Police still lead the table with 48 points from 18 games. Both Arabi and Jaish have 45 points apiece, but the former are second on better set difference.
Rayyan, who are fourth on 43, had beaten Arabi in a five-set encounter when they met in the first phase in December.
The plot was no different this time as yet another thriller unfolded at the Qatar Sports Club Indoor Hall.
Rayyan had more or less the same line-up with Cuban pro Yosleydar Cala leading the attack while Arabi made many sweeping changes in the past one week.
Professional player Leandro Vissotto from Brazil made way for compatriot Fabricio Souza who was plying his trade with Qatar SC.
There was a major change on the coaching front also as Tunisian Mawia Alajnaf stepped aside for Brazilian Patrick Duflot.
Mawia continued to remain in the dugout as Duflot’s assistant.
It was clear from the outset that it was going to be a Souza vs Cala clash and indeed it turned out to be one.
Souza, who has been one of the revelations this season, did his best and came up with a match-high 23 points, but his efforts could not save Arabi who crashed to a second straight loss to their arch-rivals.