Al Gharafa beat Al Duhail to stay as QSL Cup champions
Al Gharafa retained the QSL Cup by defeating Al Duhail 1-0 at the Abdullah bin Khalifa (Al Duhail) Stadium on Thursday, 31st January.
Vladimir Weiss netted the all-important goal via a penalty in the 13th minute.
Mr. Abdullah Ali Al Hammadi, Executive Director of Operations at Qatar Stars League (QSL), and Mr. Hassan Rabiah Al Kuwari, Executive Director of Marketing, Sales and Communication at QSL, awarded members of the winners and runners-up.
It was Al Duhail who dominated the early exchanges. However, Al Gharafa took a surprise lead through Weiss, who converted a penalty awarded for a handball offence inside the rival box.
Weiss’ shot was blocked by Al Duhail goalkeeper Amine Lecomte who dived to his left, but the Slovakian winger was on hand to slot home the rebound.
After taking the lead, Al Gharafa took a more cautious approach even as Al Duhail, for whom famed Moroccan defender Medhi Benatia made his debut, kept attacking.
Moroccan striker Yousef El Arabi, Brazilian forward Paolo Edmilson and captain Mohammed Moosa all made attempts at the goal. Al Duhail’s best chance to equalise fell to El Arabi whose shot was parried by goalkeeper Qasim Burhan after being set up by Murad Naji.
Al Duhail continued in the same vein after the break, but a goal eluded them. The Red Knights’ woes compounded when referee Mohammed Al Shammari red-carded Ahmed Abdulqader for fouling A Gharafa’s Ilyas Ahmed. The decision was taken through Video Assistant Referee (VAR).
Al Gharafa’s Amro Seraj had a chance in the 73rd, but he shot wide with only Lecomte to beat.
It looked Amro made amends five minutes later, but the goal was ruled offside.
Soon, El Arabi missed a sitter. The closing minutes saw Al Duhail make some desperate attempts, but Al Gharafa held firm. Burhan, who had a good day below the bar, came up with an excellent save to thwart Edmilson in what was Al Duhail’s last opportunity for a lifeline.
In the semifinals, Al Duhail defeated Qatar SC 4-0, while Al Gharafa booked their berth despite losing the second semifinal 1-4 to Al Kharaitiyat.
The Qatar Football Association’s Disciplinary Committee discussed the protest by Al Gharafa against Al Kharaitiyat for violating the rule of number of resident players who were on the startlist. Al Kharaitiyat had fielded six resident players in the game, instead of five, and were adjudged losers by a 0-3 margin.