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Match Report: Mediterranean-Middle East reach Confederation Cup final despite loss to ASEAN

Latin Heat vs. Mediterranean

Luke Jobson
Journalist
Rugby League Around the Grounds

ASEAN defeated Mediterranean-Middle East 32-28 in the third round of matches in the Confederations Cup, but it wasn’t enough to earn them a place in Saturday’s final, with Mediterranean-Middle East’s superior points difference ensuring they will take on Africa United for silverware.

Mediterranean-Middle East got the first use of the ball thanks to a fantastic kick off that went into touch. Husam El-Rafaai sent the ball right to the fullback in Hallal Ali-Kara and he burst through a hole, supplying Ali Ellaz with the first try of the day next to the uprights.

Christian Tarabey converted the first chance of the day to give Mediterranean-Middle East a 6-0 lead.

Tarabey then set up the second try for Mediterranean-Middle East, selling ASEAN a dummy and going through the line, offloading to Ahmed Kazam on the left edge for his first of the day.

Tarabey would not have the legs on his second attempt, with the score at 10-0 after just seven minutes.

ASEAN got a chance to hit straight back thanks to an error from the kick off, and hit back they would. Thomas Sarangaya received the ball at first receiver and provided a flat ball to a flying Corey Kurnoth for the first ASEAN try.

Tyler Chant made no mistake from in front to leave it at 10-6 after just 10 minutes.

ASEAN would get the next points on the board, with Tyler Chant firmly in the middle of it. Chant sent a ball to his centre in Thonhmy Giang, who offloaded back to Chant. Chant sent a ball out to Isaac Guerin, who cut inside and carried over a defender to score.

Chant missed the conversion from the left hand touchline to leave the score poised at 10-0 after 17 minutes.

After being down 10-0, ASEAN grabbed the lead thanks to a picture perfect cut out pass. He found Guerin who beat a defender to run around and score his second try of the day.

Chant appreciated the better angle, converting the kick to make it 16-10 after 22 minutes. A penalty goal three minutes later extended ASEAN’s lead to 18-10.

ASEAN got over to score their next try thanks to some brilliance from Trent Kurnoth. James Mabey put a grubber kick in on the last, finding the Mediterranean-Middle East fullback in Husam Rafai. Kurnoth stripped the ball from Rafai in-goal, and planted the ball down to make it 22-10.

Chant had no issues from in front to make it 24-10 after 30 minutes.

Mediterranean-Middle East got a try on the stroke of half time, with Hamza Anwar taking a quick tap and creating a great opportunity. The ball went through the hands and Mohammed Sultan scored in the right corner.

Tarabey missed the conversion, with the score staying at 24-14 in favour of ASEAN at the break.

ASEAN came out firing in the second half, and Mediterranean Middle East suffered a further setback when Khoder Mitwari was sent to the bin for a professional foul. Three plays later, ASEAN’s Kurnoth got his second try of the day running straight down the middle. Chant converted from in front to make it 30-14.

Mediterranean-Middle East hit back almost straight away, with Ahmed Kazam on the receiving end of some fantastic sleight of hand. He took on on the ASEAN fullback and won that battle to improve the position of the kick. Tarabey sliced the crucial kick to leave the score at 30-18 with just over 30 minutes to go.

A penalty goal to Chant saw the lead bounce back out to 14, with the score moving to 32-18 in favour of ASEAN. The Mediterranean-Middle East replied yet again though, with some quick hands allowing the ball to find Omair Khan over the line on the right side.

Husam Rafai took over the kicking duties, with a tough conversion on the right sideline, but he missed it, leaving the score at 32-22 with 15 minutes left.

Three games in quick succession were starting to take their toll on everyone, but the game was not over just yet for theMediterranean-Middle East. Rafai would gave Ahmed Ellaz a beautiful short ball to cannon over the line on the right edge, and Jay Jagadish coverted to leave it close at 32-28 with six minutes left.

ASEAN hung on for the win, but their points different was not enough to see them into Saturday’s cup final, where Mediterranean-Middle East will take on Africa United. ASEAN will face Latin Heat in the third place final.

ASEAN: 32

Mediterranean-Middle East: 28