Doha, 27 March 2023 - Al Duhail may be hot favourites to win the Ooredoo Cup final but the Red Knights are aware of a tough challenge they face against a ‘motivated’ Umm Salal at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium tomorrow.
Umm Salal under Moroccan coach Talal El Karkouri shocked Al Arabi 2-1 with a late fightback in the semi-final last Thursday, scoring the winner in stoppage time through Yassin Al Bakhit after Abdellah Khafifi equalised Ibrahim Kala’s 33rd minute goal in 87th minute.
Al Duhail star Nam Tae-hee said Umm Salal will return to the field high on confidence after pulling off a remarkable victory in the semi-final.
“The final will not be easy. We are expecting a difficult game against a motivated team that succeeded in proving its worth and deserved to reach this stage after they topped their group and beat Al Arabi in the semi-final. Their players will be focused on winning the title,” the versatile midfielder told reporters yesterday.
But the South Korean star said Al Duhail are equally confident ahead of the final after they rallied to beat rivals Al Sadd 3-1 on Thursday to book their place in the final.
“We will take to the field with the same ambition as Umm Salal and we have the determination, seriousness and desire to win our first title in the season. We will do everything required inside the stadium in order to win this title and make our fans happy, especially since we also succeeded in leading our group and in the semi-final, we faced a fierce competitor in Al Sadd. We were able to beat them and now we have only one step ahead of us from winning the championship, and that is an important incentive for us,” he said.
Al Duhail, who are leading the QNB Stars League (QSL) standings, are the only side that is in contention for all top domestic titles this season including Qatar Cup and the prestigious Cup. The Hernan Crespo’s team will play the Qatar Cup final against Al Sadd on April 6 before taking on Al Sailiya in the Amir Cup quarter-final on April 10.
“Our team is progressing well. We are now at the top of the league’s standings and we have reached the final of Qatar Cup 2023. We have the Ooredoo Cup final and quarter-finals of Amir Cup, and this indicates that Al Duhail will be a fierce competitor in all tournaments during the season,” said Tae-hee.
“This [title clash] will be exciting and strong, and we expect our fans’ support and presence in the final. It will greatly boost our morale, so we can taste our first title this season,” he added.
Umm Salal, who are battling to avoid relegation placed 11th in the QSL standings, will fire on all cylinders to secure a trophy this season, according to semi-final hero Al Bakhit.
“Reaching the final is an important and big step, and we look forward to winning the Ooredoo Cup,” the midfielder said.
“We are ready to face Al Duhail with great motivation, and we are aware of their strength and we respect them very much. We can get the title this season in view of the great support from the club’s management headed by His Excellency Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Thani,” Al Bakhit added.
The final will kick off at 10pm.