Olunga, Sassi score as Al Duhail outplay Al Sadd to win Qatar Cup

2023-04-07 | Since 2 Month

H E Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani hands the trophy to Al Moeez Ali

Doha, 7 April 2023 - Al Duhail put up a dominant performance to regain the Qatar Cup title outclassing Al Sadd 2-0 in the final at a packed Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium.

The Red Knights, coached by Hernan Crespo, were clearly the better side against Juan Manuel Lillo’s Wolves, riding on second half goals to win the tournament for the first time since 2018.

Kenyan striker Michael Olunga put them ahead in the 48th minute while Tunisian midfielder Ferjani Sassi sealed victory six minutes later as Al Duhail took sweet revenge of their defeats against Al Sadd in the finals of 2020 and 2021 editions.

H E Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, President of the Qatar Olympic Committee, handed the trophy to Al Duhail captain Al Moeez Ali and honoured the players and officials of the two teams.

The victory keeps Al Duhail, who won the Ooredoo Cup last month, on course for a quadruple this season as they are leading the QNB Stars League (QSL) standings and will play the Amir Cup quarter-final against Al Sailiya on Monday.

“It’s a great honour to win the Qatar Cup, shake hand with His Excellency Sheikh Joaan,” Al Moeez said after lifting the trophy.

“We played well throughout the match and we deserved to win. Now we will focus on completing the set of four trophies this season. Our coach [Crespo] has developed the players well using all his experience,” the Qatari striker added.

Last night, Al Duhail were paid for a dominant first half that ended in stalemate as Olunga drove the ball past Al Sadd goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb after an assist from Sassi soon after the game resumed. Olunga’s effort from close range was straight at Al Sheeb who was caught napping as the ball bounced off his foot and found the net to take the Red Knights ahead.

Al Duhail continued their aggressive display and doubled their advantage with Sassi sending a half volley into the right corner of the net after Al Sheeb deflected Almoez’s attempt from a cross.

The two-goal cushion did not suffice the Red Knights as they continued to put pressure on their rivals with repeated surges.

Sassi could have scored his second goal after 70 minutes but he missed a golden chance to score from near the penalty spot, failing to control a brilliant Bassam Al Rawi cross.

In a rare second-half attempt from Al Sadd, Akram Afif did well to control a long ball but Al Duhail goalkeeper Salah Zakaria denied the Qatari playmaker with five minutes left.

The seven minutes of stoppage time saw some desperate attempts from Al Sadd including a hit from Afif that was well blocked by Zakaria, before Crespo joined his players to celebrate second title triumph in 10 days.

Earlier, Al Sadd – seeking their fourth title since the tournament was re-launched under its new name in 2014 – immediately threatened Al Duhail following the kick off with Boualem Khoukhi hitting a long shot that Zakaria had to tip away for safety.

Zakaria again made a fine save from Khoukhi’s fierce strike off a free kick before Almoez launched Al Duhail’s first attack but his hit was way too high.

The two sides battled to take control of the match with the Red Knights doing well to hold Al Sadd, who got off to a fiery start.

Crespo’s side started making attempts which included a dangerous hit from Sassi that needed a Bahaa Mamdouh’s deflection to keep Al Sadd in the match.

After Ayoub El Kaabi’s header just missed the target, Al Duhail almost took the lead in a counter-attack as Nam Tae-hee’s strike hit the bar after he picked a ball from Almoez.

Al Duhail, who had a slow start, looked in firm control at the half-hour mark maintaining around 65 percent of ball possession.

Olunga in his first attempt of the match headed wide from close range after connecting with a chip from Sassi.

Deep in the opening half, Afif initiated a move from the left but Baghdad Bounedjah hit the side netting after receiving the ball from him as the two teams returned to dugout for a breather without a goal.


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