Lekhwiya crowned Qatar Cup Champions
Doha: A terrific header by Andres Sebastian Soria helped Lekhwiya a 1-0 victory over El Jaish as the Qatar Stars League champions added the Qatar Cup to their trophy cabinet yesterday.
The win gave Lekhwiya their second uninterrupted trophy of the season.
Lekhwiya had been smarting for a year after El Jaish edged them on penalties in the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2014.
Although possession was fairly equal, El Jaish were more threatening in the initial moments of the match — time and again slipping past Lekhwiya’s back line, but their finishing left a lot to be desired.
Mohammed Abdulla Methnani gave El Jaish their first real chance in the 11th minute when he broke down the right and sent in a low cross to Romarinho, who completely wasted the opportunity.
Then, like many high-stakes finals, the game turned into a gritty battle of attrition with both teams waiting to see who would blink first.
Late in the first half the ‘Soldiers’ rallied and a cross from Yousef Muftah was headed down by Muntari into the path of Romarinho, but the Brazilian couldn’t keep his shot down.
After the restart Methnani was awarded a free-kick in a central position just outside of the box. Defender Anderson Martins lined up and struck a fierce shot that went just over the bar.
Lekhwiya replied just minutes later as midfielder Kareem Boudiaf went on a marauding run through the middle before laying off to Nam Tae-Hee, who hit a strong effort on target but the keeper was well positioned for the save.
Then in the 62nd minute, El Jaish keeper Al Khater flirted with danger as he feigned a clearance and toyed with Lekhwiya strikers before getting rid of the ball. The keeper was living dangerously to the obvious frustration of the Jaish coach Sabri Lamouchi.
The closest effort to a goal came in the 67th minute when Lekhwiya striker Soria flashed a low shot across the face of goal from a tight angle.
The game started to look as though it might go to penalties as both sides were able to nullify each other’s attacks.
Then, Vladimir Weiss, who came on as a sub, won a free kick. Korean play-maker Nam Tae-Hee sent in a perfectly timed in-swinger and Soria only needed a flick of the head to put the ‘Red Knights’ into the lead.
Laudrup’s men then shut out the game as the minutes ticked by and El Jaish could not make a breakthrough.
H E Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani handed the winners their trophies. The President of the Qatar Football Association (QFA), H E Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani handed the El Jaish players their runners-up trophies.
Lekhwiya now have their sights on the Emir Cup in hopes of completing a domestic treble.
Left-back Khalid Muftah reflected his team’s mood. “This is great achievement for our team and we are looking forward to the Emir Cup,” he said after the match.