Al Duhail crush Al Sadd to retain Amir Cup
Doha: Al Duhail rallied from a goal down to stun former champions Al Sadd to retain the Amir Cup title with an impressive 4-1 victory at Al Janoub Stadium, yesterday.
After conceding a goal to Al Sadd in just the seventh minute, Al Duhail fired four goals to complete a resounding win in the presence of the Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Belgian-Brazilian winger Edmilson Jr emerged as Al Duhail hero with twin strikes (58 and 81) to supplement goals by team-mates Ali Hassan Yahya (16) and substitute Youseff El Arabi (62).
The only goal for Al Sadd was scored in the 7th minute by rising star Akram Afif, brother of Al Duhail’s Yahya.
It was Al Duhail’s second successive Amir Cup title win, denying Al Sadd their 17th trophy overall.
A powerful performance by Al Duhail also denied Barcelona legend Xavi a winning farewell from professional football.
In just the third minute, Algerian striker Baghdad Bounedjah hoodwinked a couple of defenders – following a cross from Xavi – but his shot from inside the box slipped past the far post. Hassan Al Haydos, stationed close to the far post, hesitated for a second and the ball flew past his stretched right leg.
In the 7th minute of what was the final game of the season, Al Sadd opened the scoring with a field goal that left Al Duhail fans stunned.
Playing the final match of his illustrious career, Xavi found Al Haydos on the right flank with a short cross. Al Haydos powered a shot towards Gabi in the box and the Atletico Madrid star backheeled the ball towards Afif, the QFA Player of the Year. Afif without wasting any time aimed for the top of the net. The ball zipped past the outstretched hand of Al Duhail goalkeeper Lecoumet Amin.
It was Afif’s 28th goal of the season and the young Qatari celebrated in trademark style much to the delight of thousands of Al Sadd fans.
Four minutes later, Baghdad curled in a powerful shot from the edge of the box but keeper Amin blocked the move by punching the ball away. Two minutes later, Yahya curled in a superbly taken free-kick but Al Sadd ‘keeper Saad Al Sheeb picked the flight of the ball early to kill the move. Seconds later, Yahya fired a shot from an acute angle but the ball was pushed for a corner.
In the 16th minute, Yahya produced the Al Duhail equaliser with a bit of fortunate deflection. Yahya charged into the Al Sadd box but fumbled with the ball that ended up landing at the feet of Almoez Ali stationed nearby. Ali returned the ball to Yahya who drilled a shot towards the goal with his left foot. The ball deflected off the chest of 2018 Asian Player of the Year Abdulkarim Hassan and crashed into the Al Sadd net.
Two minutes later, Edmilson Jr almost scored for Al Duhail but his shot was was parried away by ‘keeper Al Sheeb. Seconds later, Al Sadd defender Pedro Miguel fired a swinging shot that narrowly missed the crossbar with Al Duhail ‘keeper Amin beaten by the flight of the ball.
In the 24th minute, Al Sadd’s Korean import Wooyoung Jung fired a long-range bullet that was punched away by Al Duhail keeper. Seconds later Al Duhail star Ali was shown the red card for his second yellow of the match. Ali produced a reckless tackle on Bounedjah who fell to the ground writhing in pain in the 25th minute.
Ali, Qatar team’s Asian Cup hero, walked off dejected as Al Duhail players continued to question the call of referee Abdulrahman Ibrahim Al Jassim.
In the 35th minute, Al Sadd star Afif was shown the yellow card for ignoring a linesman call. Referee Al Jassim, despite pleas from Afif, showed the young striker the yellow card.
Just before the start of the second half, Al Duhail called in ace striker El Arabi in place out-of-form Assim Madibo.
In the 50th minute, Al Sadd’s pocket dynamo Afif weaved his way through to the Al Duhail box and then found unmarked Al Haydos close to the goal. Al Haydos produced a deflection with a header but with little pace though he had an easy target to net the goal.
In the 55th minute, referee Al Jassim showed a red card to Tarik Salman of Al Sadd for bringing down Edmilson Jr just a outside the box. Edmilson misfired with his direct freekick as Al Sadd breathed a sigh of relief. Seconds later Al Sadd coach Jesualdo Ferreira benched Al Haydos and brought in Hamed Ismail.
A minute before the one-hour mark, El Arabi found Edmilson with a neat cross right in the middle the Al Sadd box. Despite being shadowed by Hassan, Edmilson drilled a shot into the net with a left-footed drive. It was the seventh goal for the Brazilian in the season.
Three minutes later, the Edmildon-El Arabi duo powered Al Duhail to a 3-1 lead. Edmilson found French-born El Arabi with a deflected cross and the Moroccan star used his chest to deflect the ball into the net from close range. It was the half-fit striker’s 28th goal of the season.
In the 81st minute, Edmilson drilled a long-range shot from just outside the Al Sadd box sending the ball into the net for his side’s fourth goal of the night.