19 May 2017 - 23:47
Al Sadd Emir Cup champions
By Armstrong Vas / The Peninsula
Al Sadd rallied from a goal down to register a fighting 2-1-win over Al Rayyan in an exciting final of the Emir Cup at the renovated Khalifa International Stadium.
The iconic stadium was earlier inaugurated by the Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani watched by a capacity crowd close to 48,000.
All the goals came in the second half to give Al Sadd their 16th Emir Cup. For coach Jesualdo Ferreira’s team, this is the second title of the season, having earlier won the Qatar Cup.
Al Rayyan went in to the lead in the 49th minute through Rodrigo Tabata while Hassan Al Haydos equalised seven minute later.
Al Sadd scored the match winner in added-on time of the match with Jugurtha Hamroun notching the decisive goal for the Wolves.
Both the teams set a hot pace from the very beginning of the match, watched by FIFA President Infantino and other high ranking football officials from the region.
With both the teams giving out their best and ready to outsmart their rivals with every trick in the bag, the packed house at the renovated stadium had their money’s worth.
Al Rayyan came close to breaking open the rival defense very early in the first half.
Playmaker Tabata, who is dangerous when it comes to executing free kicks, nearly struck in the 16th minute.
The Brazilian-born striker however watched with frustration as his brilliantly executed free kick flew a few inches off the far post much to relief of the Al Sadd keeper Saad Abdulla Al Dosari.
At the other end, Al Sadd tried to break the impasse but failed to get past the Al Rayyan defense as a result the teams went into the half time break deadlocked at 0-0.
In the second half, Al Rayyan came all the guns blazing and took the lead five minutes into the session.
Tabata picked up holes in the Al Sadd defense to give the lead for The Lions.
The striker who scored two crucial goals and set up one in the 3-1 win over Lekhwiya in the semifinals, made no mistake with the second attempt as his first one came back to him off the rival keeper Al Dosari, who blocked the try but only to find Tabata latch on to the rebound in a flash and score.
The goal sent about wild celebrations among the Al Rayyan supporters.
Al Sadd did not take time to get on level terms.
Italian referee Rocchi Gianluca pointed to the spot kick as Al Sadd player Baghdad Bounedjah was deemed to have been brought by unfairly by an Al Rayyan defender.
Off the resultant spot kick, Al Haydos made no mistake shooting his try past the outstretched hands of Al Rayyan keeper Oumar Oumar Barry.
Thereafter, Al Rayyan pressed hard but Al Rayyan keeper affected a couple of saves to keep the marauding strikers at bay.
With Al Rayyan going all out in search for the goal, Al Sadd notched the match winner in a counter attack.
Al Sadd’s Hamroun left a host of Al Rayyan defenders behind him and after covering a lot of space beat the advancing keeper with an adroit placement.
Earlier, the Khalifa International Stadium was declared open in a colorful opening ceremony.
The renovated Khalifa International Stadium is the first proposed host venue for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar.
With over five years until the 2022 World Cup kicks-off, the unveiled stadium is the tournament's first completed venue to be thrown open.