The 2016 Qatar Cup final will see Lekhiwya face rivals El Jaish in the showpiece final today the 26th of April at Al Sadd stadium. Both sides have battled through long strenuous domestic seasons to meet with a chance to lift some silverware in the Qatar Cup final.
The Red Knights put on a tactical masterclass in their 3-1 victory against Al Rayyan, a side who they lost to on both occasions during the QSL season. Djamel Belmadi set out a defensive side, with one recognised striker. However Lekhwiya were masterful on the break, putting the current QSL champions to the sword with three goals of superior quality, before Rayyan grabbed a consolation strike.
No player will be more important in attack for Belmadi than the aforementioned Nam Tae Hee. The South Korean international has grabbed ten league goals this season, his second highest tally since joining Lekhwiya in 2011.
Nam popped with a fine individual goal in the semi-final and Lekwiya will be expecting more of the same from their number ten in the Qatar Cup final.
As for their opponents El Jaish, they have been one of the most consistent sides in the QSL this season. Sabri Lamouchi’s side has upheld their envious record of appearing in every Qatar Cup final since the tournament was rebranded three years ago. They will be looking for a repeat of their success in the 2014 addition of the tournament, when they lifted the crown.
El Jaish progressed to the Qatar Cup final with a 3-2 victory over Al Sadd, whom they pipped to second place in the QSL standings. Jaish’s attacking trio of Hamdullah, Romarinho and Rashidov linked together on the night and all three players had a hand in the Jaish goals.
Defensively Jaish have been resolute this season and only conceded 29 goals in 23 QSL games this year. Central to that defensive stability has been Captain Abdurahman Abubakar. The Qatari international has been a mainstay in the Jaish side this year, and the 25-year-old has matured into a no nonsense defender.
It promises to be a fantastic tactical duel when these two giants of Qatari football come together with the Qatar Cup on the line.
We want to win everything we can: Belmadi
Djamel Belmadi, the head coach of Lekhwiya, wants his team to keep carrying on the winning mentality, “It’s a final and each final should be played to win and in the semi-final we played very well. I want the players to play with the same attitude.”
Speaking about the vast range of attacking options he has at his disposal, Belmadi added, “It’s a nice problem I wish I had this more in the season. Youssef Msakni, Karim Boudiaf and Mohammed Muntari, who is on fire. More importantly in AFC Champions League we don’t concede many goals and against Rayyan we conceded only one. We want to play and we want to win everything that we can.”
“Muntari is an important player for us. It is important to find a local player who can play in the national team. It’s important for us as a club that we have more than ten players in the national team and our vision is global,” added the Algerian coach.
We have the determination to win it: Lamouchi
Sabri Lamouchi, the head coach of El Jaish, is happy with his team’s performance this season, “It a totally different game because simply it’s a final and in a final you have to win. I would like to congratulate my team for having an amazing season and getting to the final.”
“El Jaish is a young club, with young players and not the same infrastructure as other clubs. Step by step we are building a strong club. Last year, we lost two finals and this year we have the determination to go on and win it,” added the Frenchman.
“We know the quality of the opponent, they have lots of quality but at the same time they have some weaknesses and my players know that. Some of my players are playing their first final and if we play with the same concentration, passion and attitude like we did in the AFC Champions League I’m sure we can have a good game,” added Lamouchi.
Lekhwiya coach Djamel Belmadi (L) and Jaish coach Sabri Lamouchi.