Al Sadd crowned 2020 Qatar Cup champions


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Qatar Football Association President His Excellency Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani crowned Al Sadd as the 2020 Qatar Cup champions after they defeated Al Duhail 4-0 in front of  a huge crowd that totalled 11,477 at the Al Sadd Stadium on Friday, 17th January.

Nam Tae-Hee (fifth minute), Baghdad Bounedjah (21st and 45+3 minutes) and Akram Afif (71st-minute penalty) scored the goals for Al Sadd, who regained the coveted trophy that they last lifted in 2017.

It may be recalled that Al Duhail had beaten Al Sadd 2-1 in the previous Qatar Cup final in 2018.

Going into the match, the two teams had already faced off four times this season. The first of their double-leg AFC Champions League Round of 16 ended in a draw and Al Sadd beat Al Duhail in the second to progress to the quarterfinals on aggregate score.

Al Sadd beat Al Duhail 1-0 in the one-off, season-opening Sheikh Jassim Cup (Super Cup). Then, Al Duhail turned the tables as they beat Al Sadd 4-1 in Week 9 of the 2019-20 QNB Stars League.

The battle between two heavyweights in Qatar football, their fifth face-off this season, was full of excitement even though Al Sadd were ahead by three goals to nil by the half-time whistle.

Al Sadd dominated holders Al Duhail, who had won the Qatar Cup in 2015 and 2018 after the Qatar Stars League’s flagship tournament was rebranded in 2014, in the title clash of the tournament’s sixth edition played before a huge crowd of spectators at the Al Sadd Stadium.

Nam, who joined The Wolves from Al Duhail at the start of this season, had a role in the first and third goals, while Al Duhail goalkeeper Amine Lecomte would have been feeling guilty over conceding the first two goals.

Nam opened the scoring by nodding the ball home, beating Lecomte’s reflex, off a cross from Pedro Miguel from the right.

After Al Duhail forward Ismail Mohammed limped off the field in the 16th minute with a muscle cramp and new North Korean recruit Han Kwang-Song replaced him, Al Sadd doubled the lead not before long as Bounedjah sent home a faulty clearance by Lecomte after the latter dealt with a minus pass by central defender Mehdi Benatia following a through pass by Abdelkarim Hassan.

Bounedjah made it 3-0 with an angular shot that gave Lecomte no chance to even dive, with Nam doing the spadework with a touch pass.

Al Duhail’s Almoez Ali sent a rising shot straight to goalkeeper Saad Al Dossari, while Al Sadd’s Hassan Al Haydous narrowly missed the target following an inch-perfect cross from the left by Akram.

Soon after the second half started, Al Duhail substituted Yousef Msakni with Ahmed Yasser. The closest the Red Knights came to scoring was when Han failed to connect a through pass by Almoez after the latter evaded a challenge from Abdelkarim Hassan before setting the stage in the 53rd minute.

At the other end, Al Haydous too missed on a couple of occasions, first sending his shot wide and then heading wide of the target.

Meanwhile, Al Sadd made it 4-0, Akram converting a penalty awarded by referee Saoud Ali Al Athba after he was tripped by Mohammed Moosa.

Al Duhail had another chance as the game wore on, but another new signing Mario Mandzukic was way off the mark and Al Sadd cruised to an easy victory.

The 2020 Qatar Cup featured the top four teams (Al Sadd, Al Duhail, Al Sailiya and Al Rayyan in that order) in the 2018-19 season QNB Stars League.

Al Duhail had defeated Al Sailiya 2-0, while Al Sadd beat Al Rayyan 4-1 in the semifinals played on 10th and 11th January.

Al Duhail have been doing really well in the league championship, where they are the table toppers after 12 rounds of action, while reigning champions Al Sadd are third even though they have one match in hand, against Al Khor, deferred owing to their AFC Champions League commitment.