Al Duhail reach 2020 Qatar Cup final by beating Al Sailiya


Al Duhail entered the 2020 Qatar Cup final by defeating Al Sailiya 2-0 in the first semifinal played at the Al Sadd Stadium on Friday.

Al Duhail’s new recruit and star forward Mario Mandzukic (59th minute) and substitute Almoez Ali (72nd-minute penalty) scored the goals.

Al Duhail were more on the ball from the start and had more chances. Mandzukic and Mohammed Muntari led their attacks, with Yousef Msakni and Paulo Edmilson playing supporting roles.

At the other end, Karim Ansari and Abdulqadir Ilyas were at the helm of Al Sailiya’s offensives.

Amid Al Duhail’s repeated raids, Ansari wreaked havoc at the rival goal in the 14th minute as he released a dangerous cross from the right, but it was too fast for Ilyas to connect even as goalkeeper Amine Lecomte could not block it.

Ansari was at it again in the 20th minute and his angular shot demanded a high-reflex save from the goalkeeper.

Al Sailiya’s Daniel Gomou skied his shot as the first half drew to a close goalless.

Al Duhail started off the second half by fielding Almoez Ali in place of Muntari.

The Red Knights broke the deadlock when Mandzukic opened his account in Qatar in his second match. The Croat placed home a rebound from goalkeeper Khalifa Aboobacker, who fumbled with collection of a Luis Martin shot.

Al Duhail doubled the advantage when Almoez converted a penalty, awarded by referee Nayef Al Kadiri after he was fouled by Serigne Mbodji when Almoez was chasing a through pass from Msakni.

Al Duhail’s new North Korean forward Han Kwang-Song made his debut towards the end of the game.

Al Sadd will take on Al Rayyan in the second semifinal at the Al Sadd Stadium on Saturday. The final is scheduled for 17th January.

Al Duhail qualified for the Qatar Cup’s sixth edition by virtue of finishing second in the 2018-19 QNB Stars League, while Al Sailiya made it to the elite tournament featuring the top-four teams in the league by finishing a creditable third, behind reigning champions Al Sadd and Al Duhail.

It was Al Sailiya’s highest-ever standing in the Qatar league. The achievement also earned The Peregrines a play-off place in the 2020 AFC Champions League, for the first time in their history.

Al Duhail had won the Qatar Cup in its second edition in the 2014-15 season, while Al Sailiya were playing in the tournament’s sixth edition for the second time, after 2014.