Thursday, July 18, 2019
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Al Sadd hold egde but Duhail determined too

Al Sadd hold egde but Duhail determined too

Ayeni Olusegun
The 40-000 capacity Al Wakrah Stadium will come to life as Al Sadd and defending champions Al Duhail slug it out in the Amir Cup final
on Thursday.
The first of the 2022 FIFA Wolrd Cup Qatar stadiums to be built from scratch will be inaugurated by HH the Amir Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad al Thani before kickoff at 10:30pm. It is only fitting for the most prestigious domestic competition to have first taste of the new stadium.
On the pitch, however, it promises to be a tough battle against two teams who are evenly matched both in attack and defence. This will be the second Amir Cup final between Al Duhail and Al Sadd with both teams splitting the spoils.
This season, Al Sadd enjoyed a better head-to-head record over the Red Knights on their way to winning the QNB Stars League, cruising to a 3-1 win in the first leg and forcing a 2-2 draw in March.
Al Sadd’s last win came at the Khalifa International Stadium in 2017 and coach Jesualdo Ferreira hopes Al Wakrah brings them more luck, especially this being his last game in charge of the Wolves.
“There are no clear favourites, and a big team like Al Duhail wouldn’t want to lose. They are champions but we want to win the Cup.
“In 2017 we beat them at the Khalifa Stadium and now it’s
Al Wakrah. Maybe the World Cup stadiums are good for us.
“It’s special for me because it’s the last game I’ll lead this club,” he said.
“We also know how much interest the Amir Cup gets from the media and citizens of Qatar. This final will be one of the biggest in history especially being played at a World Cup stadium,” Ferreira told the media on Wednesday.
The final will also mark another milestone as both coaches are from Portugal. Ferreira however, was quick to downplay the relevance of any comparison with Rui Faria.
“It’s the players and not the coaches who play. I would have loved to play but my age is against me,” the 72-year-old said with a laugh. “The most important parts of the game are the players, we can only supervise them as coaches.”
Meanwhile, Al Duhail head coach Rui Faria will take charge of his first final as coach after 17 years as an assistant to Jose Mourinho.
“I am very pleased to be part of the opening of Al Wakrah World Cup Stadium and to play in this important tournament for the first time, but the most important thing for me is my team, winning will mean a lot to the team,” said Faria.
“I am a coach and the victory will be added to my personal account. I was an assistant before, but now it’s my first final as a coach, and also at the stadium which will host matches of the 2022 World Cup. Surely this will increase the importance of the game,” he added.
The defending champions will likely be without some injured players and there’s doubt on Youssef El Arabi’s participation. The Moroccan recently returned to training after missing the semi-final. Mohammed Muntari and Almoez Ali led the attack against Al Sailiya and the duo are likely to start with Edmilson Junior on the wing.
“We have injuries in the team, but this will not reduce the number of players for us on the pitch. We have some players who will not participate, but there are a number of others who will find their place in the starting line up.
“We are focused on the available players and when we play with this mentality, it makes it easier for us to play at a maximum level and everyone is motivated to this game and looking to achieve victory,” the Portuguese added.
Cracker on the cards. Be there!


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