Al Duhail booked their spot in the semi-finals of the Amir Cup with a 2-0 victory over Al Shamal in their quarter-final match at the Suhaim Bin Hamad Stadium on Tuesday.
Kenyan striker Michael Olunga (45+3) and Abdulla al-Ahraq (89) were the scorers for Al Duhail as the defending league champions stayed on course for
the prestigious trophy.
Despite being packed with an array of formidable names Al Duhail failed to assert their supremacy over their rivals, more so in the first half where the Al
Shamal defence gallantly stuck to their task. Eventually it took an Olunga strike in first half stoppage time to put Al Duhail ahead before al-Ahraq put the result beyond doubt in the closing stages of the game.
Al Duhail player Bassem al-Rawi said it was important to secure victory, no matter how small the margin. “Winning is the most important thing in cup tournaments because a defeat means you are out of the tournament,” said al-Rawi.
“Now that we are in the last four our aim is to prepare for the next match and then grab a spot in the final. Al Duhail are a big club but that doesn’t mean we can take matters lightly. We must strive to get the better of our rivals,” he added.
Ali Afif was also relieved after the win, although he admitted the scoreline could have been better. “Congratulations to the team for the victory and hard luck to Al Shamal. Not everyone is satisfied with the way we won but we will review our mistakes and address them,” he added.
In another quarter-final match on Tuesday, Al Rayyan edged out Al Kharaitiyat 2-0, thanks to a brace by Ivorian Yohann Boli, who struck once in each half
Minnows Al Kharaitiyat gave a good account of themselves to keep Al Rayyan on edge but luck deserted them as the Lions progressed to the last four
AL SADD MEET GHARAFA
Meanwhile, AlSadd head coach Xavi Hernandez stressed on the importance of his team’s quarter-final match against Al Gharafa on Wednesday, describing it
as “a final”. Speaking during the pre-match press conference: “We have to change our mentality after winning the Qatar Cup, we are living through moments of celebration and we have to move from this stage. In my view Al Gharafa is one of the best teams currently in Qatar and they have become a lot better with their coach Slavisa Jokanovic.”
The coach added: “Our clash with Al Gharafa is a final, and we have to focus more and continue on our path.”
Xavi also said: “My message to the players now is that we should not be inactive or lazy. An important match awaits us, we have to come out of this
atmosphere. It is good that the victories continue, but we have to be aware of the importance of the next match.”
He continued: “We had a beautiful experience in the Amir Cup final last year, it was one of the most beautiful matches we played. The stadium was
wonderful and the pitch was wonderful. We have to continue on our journey to be in the final again.”
Xavi also indicated that it is small details decide such matches, and said: “The small details are very important so that we do not lose the game in one
moment. Everyone works for the team and these are important aspects for us. We must continue to be always in our competitive position to increase our
focus and achieve what we are looking for.”
Regarding Akram Afif’s return to the team, Xavi said: “Akram Afif is one of the best players and we missed him because he has the ability to make the difference for the team. We won the Qatar Cup, but that does not mean that we did not miss Akram Afif.”
Finally, Xavi concluded with a remark on the squad: “We have not yet decided the squad in which we will face Al Gharafa. We will work hard in training
to go into the game with complete focus and spirit in order to get the win.Last updated: March 02 2021 11:13 PM
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