Al Rayyan shock Duhail, to meet Al Sadd in Amir Cup final
May 11 2021 12:32 AM
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Al Rayyan players celebrate their win over Al Duhail in the Amir Cup semi-final. PICTURE: Jayan Orma
Al Rayyan players celebrate their win over Al Duhail in the Amir Cup semi-final. PICTURE: Jayan Orma

By Staff Reporter Doha

Al Rayyan are one win away from salvaging what was a largely forgettable season after a shock 2-1 victory over Al Duhail put them in the final of the Amir Cup on Monday.

The Lions were barely in contention to win the QNB Stars League and crashed out of the Asian Champions League without a single victory earlier this month, finishing even below India’s Goa FC with just two points from six matches.

But as the season heads to a close, Al Rayyan find themselves somewhat fortuitously in position to win Qatar’s richest tournament as Dame Traore and Yacine Brahimi struck on either side of the break at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium.

Al Duhail can claim with some justification that luck was not on their side, but the fact remains that they are themselves to blame for their plight by not converting any of the numerous chances that came their way.

Al Duhail, who finished second to Al Sadd in the league by a long margin, had also failed to live up to their reputation in the Asian Champions league by narrowly failing to make the quarter-final stage.

Monday, they had the better of the exchanges throughout the match and could have gone two goals up in the first 10 minutes of play.

In the first instance, star Kenyan forward Michael Olunga found himself in great position to score in the fifth minute but his powerful header from the centre of the box just sailed over the crossbar.

Three minutes later, the Al Rayyan goal had another narrow escape as Almoez Ali’s thundering shot from just outside the penalty area missed the net by inches.

But with the game seemingly under Al Duhail’s control, Al Rayyan broke their momentum with a lucky strike in the 13th minute.

 

Abdulaziz Hatem fired in a corner and the French-born Traore rose above the defence to head the ball, which took a deflection off Sultan al-Brake’s head before finding its way into the net.

Al Duhail almost hit back immediately but to their dismay Moroccan Mehdi Benatia had his goal disallowed after he was ruled offside.

The first half ended with Al Duhail missing a flurry of chances, with Almoez and Mohamed Musa going wide.

Al Rayyan made a fast start after resumption with Mowafik Awad finding the Al Duhail goalkeeper Salah Zakaria at his mercy in the very first minute.

But the young midfielder shot straight to Zakaria’s body from point-blank range to miss out on a golden chance.

Awad however made amends in the 58th minute by winning a penalty after Zakaria brought him down while he was through with the ball inside the penalty area.

The resultant spot-kick saw Brahimi scoring with ease to give Al Rayyan a two-goal cushion as desperation set in for Al Duhail.

After a few more close shaves on either side, Al Duhail finally found the mark in the 82nd minute with Olunga producing a low header from close off an assist by Khalid Mohamed.

But that was the only bright moment in the match for Sabri Lamouchi’s side as the match ended after a brawl, with Al Duhail’s captain even earning a red card late into stoppage time.

Al Rayyan will now clash with Al Sadd on Friday at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium for the prestigious trophy.



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