When Al Sadd take on Al Duhail in the Qatar Cup final on Friday, 27th April, it will indeed be a clash of titans. The match will kick off at 19:00 at the Al Sadd Stadium.
Al Sadd reached the final by edging arch-rivals Al Rayyan 6-2 on penalties after the regular time ended in a 2-2 draw. Al Duhail’s path to the title was relatively easier as they prevailed over Al Gharafa by a 6-1 margin in the second semi-final.
Al Sadd will not only be looking to retain the cup, which they won beating erstwhile El Jaish last year, but will also seek their second title of the season. They had lifted the season-opening Sheikh Jassim Cup by defeating Al Duhail in the one-off match.
The Wolves will also have a point to prove as they finished runners-up to Al Duhail in the recently-concluded QNB Stars League. Interestingly, Al Sadd had beaten Al Rayyan in the semi-final in last season’s tournament as well. Al Duhail will be looking to regain the Cup which they won in the 2014-15 season in the name of Lekhwiya before their merger with El Jaish to form the new team.
The final will undoubtedly be a treat for the fans as well, for these are the two best teams in Qatar football at the moment. Naturally, sparks are bound to fly.
The Red Knights will be without injured attacking midfielder Youssef Msakni, but Al Sadd’s defenders — Morteza Mohamed, Abdulkarim Hassan, Hamed Ismail and Pedro will have a tough time against the likes of QNB Stars League’s top scorer Youssef El Arabi (26 goals), Almoez Ali, Ismail Mohamed and Nam Tae-Hee, who scored a hat-trick in the semi-final. Similarly, the Al Duhail defence, consisting of Lucas Mendes, Mohammed Moussa, Khaled Muftah and Murad Naji, will struggle to contain rival attackers such as Algerian ace Baghdad Bounedjah, as well as Qatar internationals Hassan al-Haydous and Akram Afif.
In midfield, Al Sadd have Spain and Barcelona great Xavi Hernandez (captain), Algerian Jugurtha Hamroun and Salem al-Hajri, while Al Duhail have captain Karim Boudiaf and Luis Martin to pull the strings in the middle. It will also be a battle between two shrewd coaches — Jesualdo Ferreira (Al Sadd) and Djamel Belmadi (Al Duhail). Meanwhile, Al Sadd and Al Duhail have progressed to the AFC Champions League’s Round of 16 as Qatar’s other representatives (Al Rayyan and Al Gharafa) bowed out in the group stage.
Al-Haydous said he was looking forward to the final. “It was a great match, a thrilling one (semi-final against Al Rayyan). 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.
Luis Martin was fully convinced Al Duhail deserved to be in the final. “My teammates presented the required levels and we could easily beat Al Gharafa even though the match wasn’t easy. We’ve reached the final. This is another championship and we’ll work hard to win it to add to the QNB Stars League title. I think our players are ready to clinch our second title this season,” said Luis.
The final will also be noted for the use of Video Assistant Referee review system that was introduced for the first time in Qatar for a full tournament.
Al Duhail’s path to the final was relatively easier as they beat Al Gharafa 6-1 in the second semi-final.
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