QNB Stars League winners Al Sadd and defending champions Al Duhail kept their chances of playing the highly-anticipated Amir Cup final at Amir Cup intact, registering convincing victories in their respective quarter-finals at Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium yesterday.
Al Sadd overcame a late fightback to knock Al Gharafa out of the tournament with a 4-2 victory, after Al Duhail advanced in the semi-finals with a 2-0 win over a spirited Al Shahania in the first quarter-final.
Al Sadd, the newly-crowned QSL champions continued to dominate their opponents, with feared striker Baghdad Bounedjah scoring a brace besides a goal each from Boualem Khouki and QFA Player-of-the-Year Akram Afif, taking them into the semi-finals.
After a fast start to the match, Khouki opened account for the Wolves with a header from a close range off a lofty pass by Afif in the 17th minute, beating goal-keeper Yousof Hassan.
Captain Xavi Hernandez, who yesterday confirmed his plans to retire as a footballer at the end of this season, designed the second goal for Al Sadd with a brilliant pass to Bounedjah in final minute of the first half. The striker made no mistake as he had just goal-keeper to beat to give Al Sadd a 2-0 lead in the first half.
Afif found the target in 74th minute to extend Al Sadd lead to 3-0 before Al Gharafa staged a fightback to make it 3-2 after goals from Iranian star Mehdi Taremi (78th minute) and substitute Amro Abdulfattah (89th minute).
But when things begun to get tense, Bounedjah made it 4-2 for Al Sadd in the start of injury time for his 41st goal of the season, and secure victory for the Wolves.
Coach Jesualdo Ferreira’s Al Sadd will meet the winners of quarter-finals between Al Arabi and Al Rayyan, which is scheduled today.
Earlier in the first quarter-final, coach Rui Faria’s Al Duhail had to wait for 57 minutes to get their first goal of the match against stubborn Al Shahania, who blocked several attacks by the home team in the first half.
Al Shahania were looking good in defense until a well coordinated attack by Al Duhail earned them the opener in the 57th minute.
Star striker Youssef El Arabi was the scorer, who did no mistake to push the ball past goal-keeper Amer Ahmed from a close range, after a brilliant pass from Shoya Nakajima from the right.
The goal prompted Al Shahania to look for a leveler and Al Duhail took full advantage of their compromised defense, doubling the lead with a goal in 79th minute. Paulo Edmilson struck a brilliant kick on the left corner, leaving goalie Amer Ahmed helpless.
The Red Knights didn’t have to do much to retain their lead to ensure their place in the semi-finals, where they will meet the winners of today’s quarter-finals between Al Ahli and Al Sailiya.
Al-Sadd Sports Club (Arabic: نادي السد الرياضي) is a Qatari sports club based in the Al Sadd district of the city of Doha. It is best known for its association football team, which competes in the top level of Qatari football, the Qatar Stars League. Locally, it is known primarily by the nickname “Al Zaeem”, which translates to “The Boss”. In addition to football, the club has teams for handball, basketball, volleyball, table tennis and athletics. It is the most successful sports club in the country, and holds a national record of 53 official football championships.
The origin of Al Sadd’s conception began with four Qatari students who excelled in football, but did not wish to join any of the existing football clubs. After consulting with the minister of Youth and Sports, the group, led by Abdulla bin Ahmed bin Mubarak Al Ali and Ali bin Mohammad bin Ali bin Sultan Al Ali, founded the club on 21 October 1969 in Qatar’s capital city.
In the 1989 season, they became the first Arab club side to triumph in the Asian Club Championship by defeating Al Rasheed of Iraq on an aggregate of away goals. Twenty-two years later, they won the 2011 Asian Champions League and earned a spot in the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup, in which Qatar finished third.
Al-Duhail Sports Club (Arabic: نادي الدحيل الرياضي), formerly Lekhwiya SC, is a Qatari sports club, best known for its football team, which plays in the Qatar Stars League. The club is based in the Duhail district in the city of Doha and plays its home games at Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium. It is the first team in Qatari football to win the first division title on its debut season.
In April 2017, it was announced that the club would take over El Jaish SC and merge with following the 2016–17 Qatar Stars League and be known as Al-Duhail Sports Club in rebranding of Lekhwiya SC.[3