Sadd And Duhail To Clash In Enticing Amir Cup Semi-Final


(MENAFN- Gulf Times) Qatar Stars League champions Al Sadd have set up a mouth-watering Amir Cup semi-final against bitter rivals Al Duhail. It wasn't easy for both teams in the quarters yesterday.
Baghdad Bounedjah's goal in the 20th minute proved to be decisive as Al Sadd edged past Qatar Cup champions Al Wakrah at the Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium. Earlier, Duhail secured a hard-fought 3-2 win over Al Arabi at the Al Janoub Stadium.
The match between Al Sadd and Al Wakrah was fiercely contested, with Wakrah pressing for goals, especially in the first half. However, Al Sadd's sturdy defence and goalkeeper Mishal Barshim's exceptional performance kept them from conceding. There was a contentious moment when VAR ruled out a header by Bounedjah due to a foul committed by the Algerian against an Al Wakrah defender.
Sadd's Mohamed Waad emphasised the significance of the Amir Cup tournament
for the club, and said the team was committed to learn from past mistakes, showcasing a resilient attitude.
He said:“I thank our fans who support us wholeheartedly. We learn from our mistakes, and thankfully, we delivered a good performance today, enabling us to achieve a deserved victory and continue our journey in the tournament
.”
Wakrah's Ahmed Fadel said:“We gave everything on the pitch but we were not lucky. Of course, any match you lose is difficult to take, but in general we are satisfied with our performance in the match.”
Earlier, Michael Olunga scored a brace in Duhail's thrilling 3-2 win over Arabi. Michael Philippe Coutinho scored the goal for Red Knights, while Youssef Msakni scored twice for Al Arabi. Despite conceding an early goal to Al Arabi through Msakni's strike in the third minute, Duhail swiftly responded as Olunga headed in an equaliser in the eighth minute. Arabi regained the lead two minutes later with another goal from Msakni, who slotted home after a pass from Jassim Jaber.
But Duhail levelled the score once more with Coutinho's goal in the 25th minute after a cross from Almoez Ali, ensuring parity at halftime. In the second half, Duhail continued to attack and took the lead after a mistake by Senegalese defender Abdou Diallo, who mistimed his pass to Ismail Mohamed, who in turn sent a cross for Olunga to thrash into the net.
Despite Arabi's attempts to stage a comeback, they failed to find the net again. Syrian Omar al-Somah came close to finding the net but his shot was blocked by Al Duhail goalkeeper Salah Zakaria.
Zakaria expressed his happiness with the victory as the Red Knights remained in contention for the title in a struggling season.“We started on a poor note by conceding a goal in the third minute, but we managed to come back strongly and showed our strong mentality,” he said.“We played with fighting spirit, and this is the nature of cup matches, which requires showing a great desire to win.”
Gharafa lock horns with Umm Salal; Rayyan face Qatar SC
In other quarter-final matches today, Al Rayyan will take on Qatar SC at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, while Al Gharafa face Umm Salal at the Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium.
Rayyan go into their clash with confidence after a 4-1 thrashing of Al Khor in the round of 16 last week. Rayyan coach Leonardo Jardim expected the match to be a difficult one but backed his team to win against Qatar SC.
“We are ready for the match and the confidence is high after a brilliant performance against Al Khor. The match is not going to be easy but we are looking forward to maintaining our winning run,” said Jardim.“It's a knockout tournament
and certainly double efforts are required to achieve the desired results,” he added.
Qatar SC beat debutants Al Waab to qualify for the last eight and coach Youssef al-Noubi hoped his side could prevail over Rayyan. He said:“Al Rayyan are tough as they have many good players and a great coach. But we are confident and will give our best to reach the quarter-finals.”
Meanwhile, Al Gharafa coach Pedro Martins said his team will have to be at their best to get past Umm Salal. Gharafa had needed extra time to beat Al Ahli in the pulsating last 16 encounter.
“I anticipate an exciting game as Umm Salal have been very impressive this season. Small details will make a difference and I hope we will be up to the mark and qualify for the semi-finals,” Cheetahs coach Martins said.
Umm Salal also needed two goals in extra time to get past a resilient Al Bidda 3-1 with coach Patrice Carteron urging his players to come up with an improved performance.“We have to be at the highest level against Al Gharafa. We are ready and our target is to clear the hurdle and reach the semi-finals,” he said.

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Gulf Times

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