We are one: Al Sadd players celebrate their Heir Apparent Cup semi-final victory over Al Rayyan yesterday. They will take on Lekhwiya in the final on May 4. Pictures: Noushad Thekkayil
By Yash Mudgal/Doha
Leaving behind them the nightmare they went through in last year’s final, Al Sadd took revenge over Al Rayyan yesterday by defeating them 3-1 in a keenly fought semi-final of the Heir Apparent Cup yesterday.
Sadd, who fell to Rayyan on penalties last year in the title match, took charge of the game yesterday from the word go and converted their chances into goals to enter the final.
Ibrahim Majed opened the account for Al Sadd in the 27th minute through a 30-yard dipping free-kick. Just after two minutes, Khalfan Ibrahim steered beyond the flailing Rayyan defence to give his side a two-goal lead, curling a brilliant shot past goalkeeper Omar Bari.
Sadd were so focused on scoring that they struck once again just after the breather as Younus Mahmoud slotted home a Talal al-Bloushi pass in the 46th minute. The only goal scored in the match for Al Rayyan came courtesy of an own goal by Sadd’s Mohamed Kasola who deflected an Abdul Kareem al-Ali pass into the net in the 56th minute. The Rayyan strikers had their chances but they failed to convert them into goals.
In the first-half, Rayyan striker Nilmar found himself with a decent opportunity to score but his cracking drive from just outside the penalty area skimmed the post. A couple of defensive lapses on Al Sadd’s part also went unpunished.
“It was a tough game. Rayyan have speed and experience on their side, but I am happy that my boys played well today,” Al Sadd’s Moroccan coach Hussein Amotta said after the match.
“It was the third goal in the 46th minute of the game that virtually killed the game for Rayyan. From there it was really very difficult for them to come back,” Amotta said.
Amotta also lauded the efforts of Khalfan by saying, “He is a super player and he has proved it time and again. He was superb in the league and today again he played well. There were five players hunting him and they couldn’t reach him. Messi and Maradona have both scored goals like that. It was a great goal and I congratulate him for scoring it.
“Every team who reaches the final wishes to win but we must work hard to get there. The fact we won the league will give us great confidence.”
Commenting on their chances in the final, Amotta said, “We have worked hard to reach here. We are high on confidence after our victory in the QSL and hope to win the Cup this time.”
Rayyan coach Diego Aguirre congratulated Sadd for their well-earned victory. “It was a tough game for both of us. They controlled the game beautifully,” he said.
“My boys also played well as they had their opportunities but somehow we failed to convert them into goals. We are the losers today, but I think we have played a good game,” he said.
1. Khalfan Ibrahim (L) celebrates with Talal al-Bloushi after scoring the second goal for Al Sadd yesterday.
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