Belmadi hails incredible achievement
RIYADH: Coach Djamal Belmadi praised his Qatar players for their “incredible achievement” in claiming a third Gulf Cup title with their 2-1 victory over Saudi Arabia in Wednesday’s final and insisted the nation had now taken a “big step” towards a successful experience when they host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
Saudi Arabia took the lead through Saud Kariri in the 16th minute but Qatar hit back just two minutes later through Al Mahdi Ali.
In a spectacular effort in the second half, Khouki Bualem deflected ferocious volley past Saudi Arabia goalkeeper to score the winning goal in the 58th minute.
It was Belmadi and his players’ celebrations that capped off an undefeated campaign in Saudi Arabia with the historic victory resulting in Qatar’s first Gulf championship title since they lifted the trophy ten years ago in Doha.
“I’m very happy for this incredible achievement, especially for the players who have shown a great attitude throughout and were a pleasure to work with during this whole tournament,” said Belmadi.
“What we achieved is amazing; we knew that it was a good opportunity for us to end this title drought. The players did everything to win this championship for themselves and for the country of Qatar.
“We played five difficult games, and with each game we faced different tough scenarios. we came form a one-goal deficit on three occasions, we had character”.
“In the semi-final against Oman we started the game on a mediocre note, but again the players showed a great performance. And against the hosts in the final at a packed stadium it was an incredible environment, and we came back to get a result again – that shows the spirit and great attitude of these players.”
With Qatar due to feature in the 2015 Asian Cup in one moth time, Belmadi was adamant that the progress shown augured well for the future of the team with the prospect of the AsianCup finals looming large on the horizon.