By Sports Reporter/Doha
Al Sadd staved off a spirited fightback yesterday to secure a 3-2 win over Al Rayyan and book their spot in the final of the Qatar Cup.
The Wolves raced to a 3-0 lead after just 22 minutes, but the game turned on the hour mark when Al Sadd midfielder Sami Kasola was sent off for a second yellow card. Sergio Garcia scored a spectacular goal for Al Rayyan to set up a thrilling final few minutes, but Al Sadd held out to stay on course for their first title of the season.
With the first attack of the game, Al Sadd opened the scoring. A cross from left back Abdulkarim Hassan found Jugurtha Hamroun who unleashed a drilled right footed shot which snuck into the bottom right hand of the goal, getting the better of Al Rayyan keeper Omar Barry.
Shocked into action, Al Rayyan began to dominate the ball and put their opponents under pressure. With four minutes on the clock, Musab Kheder’s well placed cross found Rodrigo Tabata, but his snap header flew over the bar. Tabata again saw a headed effort loop wide on the seventh minute as Michael Laudrup’s side attempted to find parity.
On the 20 minute mark, Al Sadd doubled their lead from the penalty spot. Lions defender Victor Cacares was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area, leaving referee Abdulraham al-Jassim little choice but to point to the spot. Hassan Haydos stepped up for his side and slotted the ball into the left hand for his side’s second goal of the match.
Two minutes later, Al Sadd were in dreamland as they struck their third goal. A cross was mishandled by Omar Barry in the Al Rayyan goal and the ball fell to Hassan Haydoos who picked out team mate Hamroun who was left with the simplest of finishes.
Al Rayyan again attempted to find their way back into the tie but missed a few chances as the first half ended 3-0 in Al Sadd’s favour.
The Lions kicked into life from the very start of the second half with Paraguayan international Caceres heading just wide. Moments later, Garcia also had an opportunity to pull a goal back but his effort skimmed just wide of the left hand post.
Al Rayyan eventually made their possession count on the 53rd minute when midfielder Koh Myong-jin tapped in to make the score 3-1. A low cross from Rodrigo Tabata evaded the Al Sadd defence leaving Koh to score from close range.
Just on the hour mark, the tie swung in Al Rayyan’s favour after Sadd midfielder Kasola picked up his second yellow of the game. With the extra man advantage, Al Rayyan pushed hard eventually finding their second goal in spectacular fashion.
With 73 minutes on the clock Spanish attacker Sergio Garcia unleashed a fine curling shot from just outside the box which sailed into the top right-hand corner. It was game on as Al Rayyan had 20 minutes to find the equaliser.
Michael Laudrup’s men streamed forward looking for a goal which would take the tie to penalties. On the 77th minute, Rayyan’s talismanic captain Rodrigo Tabata had the goal at his mercy but his shot on the turn flew well over. And five minutes from full time, a cross fell to substitute Ahmed Alaaeldin but his header hit the post.
Al Sadd will play the winners of today’s second Qatar Cup semi-final between QSL champions Lekhwiya and defending champions El Jaish in the final on April 29.
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