By Sports Reporter/Doha
Al Sadd edged out Al Rayyan 4-2 on penalties to reach the Qatar Cup final. The tie-breaker was forced after the teams were tied 2-2 after regular time at the Al Sadd Stadium yesterday.
Hassan al-Haydous, Boualem Khoukhi, Jugurtha Hamroun and Baghdad Bounedjah scored the goals for the hosts in the shoot-out.
Koh Myong-Gin and Gonzalo Viera converted for Al Rayyan, while Sebastian Soria and Rodrigo Tabata missed the target.
Akram Afif (20th) and Hamed Ismail (29th) had put Al Sadd ahead only for Mohsine Moutaouali (43rd) and Tabata (81st) to help Al Rayyan draw level.
Al-Haydous was delighted after the victory and was hoping his team will repeat the performance in the final next Friday. “It was a great match, a thrilling one. I want to thank God for the honour of winning such a close match. Al Rayyan also played very well. We hope to have another strong performance in the final,” al-Haydous said.
After an initial attack on the Al Rayyan goal by Al Sadd and a wasted free-kick by the former, referee Salman Falahi flashed a yellow card on Koh who brought down Pedro Miguel with a rough tackle near the touch line in just the fifth minute.
Seconds later, Miguel rammed his knee into the back of Moutaouali, causing another interruption in play.
A relentless Al Sadd grabbed the lead through Akram. Al-Haydous blocked a slow pass from Al Rayyan’s Koh close to his own box and slipped the ball to Barcelona and Spain great Xavi Hernandez who tapped the cross for Afif. The Qatar Under-23 star fired a low ball that swung as it reached the goalmouth before smashing into the net despite goalkeeper Barry’s full-length dive. It was Afif’s fourth goal of the current season with Al Sadd senior outfit.
Close to the half-hour mark, Al Sadd jumped to a 2-0 lead after Hamed ran almost the entire distance from the half-line and slipped the ball into the net after being chased by defender Mohamed Juma.
Five minutes from the first-half whistle, Moutaouali clipped a high ball for striker Soria who went for the snap-header, but the deflection went a little wide in one of the best chances for the visitors to score.
However, three minutes later, Moutaouali scored for Al Rayyan from close range, slipping the ball past keeper Saad al-Dossari following a neat cross from Tabata. It was Moutaouali’s fifth goal of the season.
In the 70th minute, Al Rayyan skipper Tabata headed from close range, but the effort was ruled off-side after the referee went for the Video Assistant Referee review.
Eleven minutes later, Tabata deflected a neat ball past al-Dossari to score the much-needed equaliser for Al Rayyan.
QNB Stars League’s new champions Al Duhail play Al Gharafa in the other semi-final today.
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