Al Duhail face Al Wakrah in the second semifinal of Qatar Cup 2023 at the Al Sadd Stadium on Thursday. The kick-off is at 19:45.
Al Duhail are currently the leaders in the QNB Stars League standings. The Red Knights have also won the Qatar Cup twice and hence will go in as the favourites, but Al Wakrah had scored a 4-2 win over Al Duhail in the league’s first leg before the rivals hit back in the return leg scoring a 1-0 win.
Al Wakrah, however, are excited since they are competing in the Qatar Cup for the first time since it assumed its new name in 2014. The Blue Wave will therefore be keen to grab the opportunity and also put behind the disappointment of their recent losses in the league.
The winner of this tie will advance to the final and face the winner of the first semifinal between Al Sadd and Al Arabi.
Both Al Duhail and Al Wakrah have attacking line-ups and are backed by experienced coaches in Argentinian Hernan Crespo and Spaniard Marquez Lopez respectively.
Al Wakrah were on fire at the beginning of the league when they also beat Al Duhail before suffering reversals later, including in their last two matches, but the capabilities of the sides cannot be undermined.
Al Duhail have bounced back to fine form and are riding high on the back of five consecutive league victories including the one against Al Wakrah.
Their league status, however, would not matter much since the knockout clash will bring out the best from the starry line-ups of both these teams. Both possess great attack, defence and are well-equipped with worthy goalkeepers.
Al Duhail’s spearhead is their striker Michael Olunga (top goal getter in the league). Besides there is also forward Almoez Ali and midfielder Nam Tae-Hee. But Al Duhail’s brilliance lies in their teamwork. Ferjani Sassi and Luis Martin are active in the midfield, and Khaled Mohammed, Yousef Ayman and Mohammed Musa are strong in defence.
Al Wakrah will look to keep flying high, with their top scorer Jacinto Dala expected to help them regain the scoring touch that was missing in their last two league matches against Al Duhail and Al Gharafa.
Al Wakrah will also depend on Mohamed Benyettou, captain Ahmed Fadhel and goalkeeper Saoud Al Khater to deliver the goods.
Given what is at stake, none of these two teams will give away anything and both will be aggressive and cautious at the same time providing for a pulsating tie.
Al Wakrah qualified for Qatar Cup 2023 following an exceptional season in 2021-2022, where they finished third in the league standings with 37 points, while Al Duhail were the runners-up with 47 points.