Al Sadd, Al Duhail eye Amir Cup glory

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Al Sadd, Al Duhail eye Amir Cup glory
Al Sadd’s players during a training session at Al Wakrah Stadium on the eve of their Amir Cup final against Al Duhail. Pictures: Salim MAtramkot and Abdul Basit/The Peninsula

Football giants Al Sadd and defending champions Al Duhail will be aiming to close the season with a title win in tonight’s Amir Cup final on what will be a historic moment for Qatar in their journey towards hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

The two sides will take to the pitch at the spanking new 40,000-seater Al Wakrah Stadium, a venue that will be hosting matches up to the quarter-finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Al Sadd coach Jesualdo Ferreira yesterday said he wants a repeat of the 2017 final when his side defeated Al Rayyan in the Amir Cup final at the opening ceremony of another World Cup venue - the Khalifa International Stadium.

“In 2017, when we played the Amir Cup final, it was the opening of the Khalifa International Stadium. We won that final. Two years later it is the opening of Al Wakrah Stadium. Maybe it’s good for us,” Ferreira, who guided Al Sadd to the Qatar Stars League (QSL) title win last month, said with a smile yesterday.

“For Al Sadd we have a senior player who has played the World Cup. The new players feel the same way they felt in 2017. I am with them since long so I know how they feel,” the veteran Portuguese said.

“The last time we were there in the final we won and I hope we can do it again,” he added.

 

“Personally I am very happy to feature in the Amir Cup final again. We know how important the Amir Cup is for this country. We also know how much interest there is in the Amir Cup in this country. Also the fans and residents in Qatar are interested in the match,” Ferreira said.

“This Amir Cup final will be recorded in the history as this is a World Cup venue and it will be an honour for us to play at this venue,” he added.

“It is three years before the World Cup. All credit to Qatar for building this venue,” Ferreira said.

“We are playing the defending champions. We wish to win the final,” he added.

Ferreira admitted teams were feeling the pressure ahead of the one-off clash to be played under lights.

“I am sure there will be pressure. I know Al Duhail don’t like to lose but I cannot play the way my rivals play. We are waiting for a full stadium. The most important part of the final are players. Coach only supervises a match. There’s no strong of weak candidate for the final. It’s one game of 90 minutes,” he said sternly.

When asked about the presence of Barcelona legend Xavi, who is set to appear in his final professional match, Ferreira said yesterday: “It will be like Xavi is playing for first time. He wants to fight for a win always. Xavi is still under me. Tomorrow be will be considered as any other player. He will carry out our plans. We all wish to win the final.”

Al Duhail coach Rui Faria warned that his team should not be taken lightly.

“There’s one match to go. We are giving this match every importance, every bit of attention. Al Sadd are a very good team. They are very organised. But remember this is one match. We are ready for the final. We want to finish on a high note,” Faria said yesterday at Al Bidda Tower.

“I am very happy to be part of this occasion. I know their country getting ready for World Cup. It will mean a lot to me and my players. It is the possibility to win this for Al Duhail. It means a great deal to win the first Amir Cup title. I hope it is the first of many,” Faria said.

When asked about his injured players, Faria said: “Injuries doesn’t mean we can’t put players on the pitch. Important ones are those who can deliver in a match. They (Al Sadd) are in a good moment. Our club had important issues when I arrived in January. We created a feeling that players are more important than anything else. Everybody comes to perform. We are very motivated to win this match.”

He added: “I don’t know what is their (Al Sadd’s) motivation. I care only about our reasons to win. We have fought off difficulties this season. We are not worried about the rivals. They have their objectives. We have ours. We are working on the details with fill attention,” he said.

“I don’t think there is pressure. Al Duhail is used to winning. Before I came here I studied them. I know their desires,” said Faria.

 “We are looking forward to winning. Football is football. It’s about winning. You need to be positive. We have our chance to win a Cup. We will fight until the last second,” the Portuguese coach added.

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