Doha, 26 April 2023 - Youssef Msakni scored a hat-trick as Al Arabi displayed a ruthless performance to thrash Al Sailiya 7-1 and set up mouthwatering Amir Cup final with Al Sadd on May 12.
After 18-time champions Al Sadd outclassed Al Shahania 5-1, it was another one-sided semi-final as the Dream Team, who has won the prestigious title eight times, thrilled their fans with goals at short intervals at the Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium.
The Younes Ali-coached side was leading 3-0 in the first half and they added another four goals in the final session to complete rout of Mirghani Al Zain’s Al Sailiya, who completely looked off colour.
Msakni scored in 12, 45 and 90+1 minutes with all his goals coming through headers while Omar Al Somah also excelled in the second half with strikes in 72 and 82 minutes. Rafinha, who scored from the spot in 31st minute, and Ahmed Suhail Al Hamawende, who smashed a stunning free kick into the net in 70 minutes, were the other goal scorers for Al Arabi.
Substitute Carlos Strandberg scored the consolation for Al Sailiya in 85 minutes.
“I am very happy with this victory. All the players and team management worked tirelessly to reach the final of Amir Cup. It will be a great honour to shake hands with His Highness The Amir and we are looking forward to it,” Ali said after the match.
“The players made the match easy for themselves by availing their chances well. The final [against Al Sadd] is going to be difficult but it’s too early to talk about it as we will now focus on our matches in the QSL [QNB Stars League],” the Al Al Arabi coach added.
Al Arabi looked in complete control from the beginning as they got off to a fiery start as Al Sailiya, who stunned favourites Al Duhail in the quarter-finals, looked a complete mismatch.
The Dream Team dominated the first half with 80 percent of ball possession and particularly Msakni looked at his best right from the start. The Tunisian star, whose first attempt off a header flew over the bar early in the match, put Al Arabi into lead after Rafinha initiated the move for the opening goal.
The Brazilian cleared two defenders outside the box to find space for Helal Mohamed, who chipped a ball towards Msakni and the Tunisian did well to evade his marker to fire a header from a close range.
Al Arabi were consistently putting pressure on Al Sailiya’s defense with repeated attacks and a penalty paved the way for their second goal.
Mohamed Diame was punished by referee Abdulrahman Ibrahim Al Jassim for a foul against Ahmed Fathi Abdoulla as he hit the Al Arabi captain while clearing the ball from inside the box.
Rafinha converted the penalty with a straight hit with Al Sailiya goalkeeper Abdraman Mahamat Aziz diving on his left.
Soon after the Al Sailiya goalkeeper punched away a dangerous hit from Rafinha, he conceded third goal as Msakni, left unmarked, headed a ball from Ibrahem Nasser Kalla following a corner kick.
Al Arabi resumed the match in similar fashion and Kalla thought he had extended the lead for his side in 58th minute but his goal was disallowed for offside.
However, Al Hamawende made it 4-0 with a free kick 10 yards outside the box with Al Somah inflicting another blow to Al Sailiya with a strike two minutes later after an assist from Rafinha.
Ten minutes later, Al Somah completed his brace scoring Al Arabi’s sixth goal before Strandberg scored consolation goal for Al Sailiya in 85th minute.
After being denied by substitute Awab Elawad, Msakni completed his hat-trick in stoppage time with another header as Al Arabi cruised into the final in style.
Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium that hosted the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 matches will host the title clash. Al Sadd edged Al Arabi 2-1 when the two teams last met in Amir Cup final in 2020.