Fernandez basks in QSL Cup glory
Rarely does Al Gharafa coach Jean Fernandez express his emotions. Win or lose, his face is as impassive on the pitch as it is at the pre-match or post-match Press conferences.
However, on Tuesday, as his wards lifted the QSL Cup to end their long title drought that dated back to 2012 when they won the Emir’s Cup, the Frenchman sported a delightful look, acknowledging the cheers from well-wishers.
Fernandez very well knew that they had brought the smile back on the faces of passionate Al Gharafa fans whose morale was at a low ebb having gone through a long phase without a trophy.
In the process, Al Gharafa became the first team in the history of six editions of QSL Cup to win it for a second time. They had triumphed at the inaugural tournament by defeating Al Ahli 5-0 in the final on the back of strong displays from Younis Mahmoud, Clemerson Soares and Juninho.
“Ours is a good unit which can fight till the very end. Our defence was good. So was our offence. (Luis) Jimenez played the captain’s role to perfection and we were on top of our opponents in every stage of the final,” said Fernandez.
He reflected on their victory.
“Al Rayyan are a big side. There’s a huge difference between us in the QNB Stars League standings. I had said that we fully deserved to reach the final. We had beaten formidable opponents in our group and overcame the challenge from Umm Salal in the semifinal.
“We reached the last-four stage by topping our group. I would say we’re the deserving winners of the QSL Cup. My players just did what they were expected to do and the result was a memorable victory. I’m delighted with the way they performed when it mattered the most,” said Fernandez.