Al Sadd storm into quarters with magnificent 7-0 win

Defending champions Al Sadd stormed into the quarter-finals of the Amir Cup with a crushing 7-0 win over Muaither SC yesterday.

Al Sadd took a 2-0  lead at half time before stepping up to add five more after the break. Al Sadd’s seven-star goal fest was powered by Hashim Ali (10, 30), Mohammed Al Bayati (61), (64), Akram Afif (82), Yusuf Abdurisag (78, 90+2), 

Asian Player of the Year in 2019, Afif played a major role in Al Sadd’s win, assisting in three of those goals in addition to his 82nd-minute stunner. 

Playing on their home ground Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, the 17-time champions never looked under threat and went on to dominate the proceedings since the kick-off and enjoyed a comfortable 74 percent ball possession.

Coach Xavi Hernandez decided to start without some of Al Sadd’s biggest stars including 2018 AFC player of the Year Abdelkarim Hassan, former Qatar captain Rodrigo Tabata and South Korean star Woo-Young Jung in the last-16 clash yesterday.

That didn’t lead to a decline in Al Sadd’s performance as they went on to dominate right from the starting whistle. 

Al Sadd drew first blood when Spanish star Santi Cazorla’s long pass was received by Afif who quickly flicked the ball over the head of Muaither goalkeeper Abdulrahman Mubarak Al. The ball landed at Hashim’s feet.

With no challenger in sight, Hashim directed the ball into the net for his side’s opening strike.

The same player combination was involved in Al Sadd’s second goal. Afif passed the ball to charging Hashim who shot at the goal from just outside of the penalty area.

Half time lead of 2-0 did not reflect Al Sadd’s dominance or what was yet to come in the pre-quarter-final. 

After the break, Al Sadd revved up their attack and played with aggression.  

In the 63rd minute, Uira Marques brought down Al Sadd’s Abdurisag and the resulting penalty kick was successfully converted by Boualem Khoukhi to make it 3-0 in favour of the hosts. 

Just two minutes later, Mohammed Al Bayati, assisted by Hashim, made it 4-0 as Muaither players were left stunned.

Hashim, after making a notable contribution, was replaced by Tabata in the 71st minute. 

The former national star did not take long to make his presence felt. 

Abdurisag found Tabata with a short pass just outside the penalty area and positioned himself close to the Muaither goalkeeper while Tabata created a chance with a clever pass behind his back. Abdurisag kicked the ball into the net while goalkeeper struggled to reach the same as Al Sadd made it 5-0. 

Afif, after assisting in three of the previous goals, added one more to Al Sadd’s account with following a dramatic finish. Under-23 player Ahmed Suhail Al Hamawende was given the opportunity to take a free kick in the 86th minute, but the ball hit the crossbar. 

Afif headed the ball on the rebound, but the Muather goalkeeper succeeded in deflecting the same. Afif made no mistake in the second rebound as he beat the Muaither keeper to score his first goal of the match.

Just when Muaither though the goal  fest was over, Abdurisag, once again assisted by Afif, added one more during the injury time to make it 7-0.

Earlier, at the same venue, Al Rayyan’s victory against Al Markhiya was propelled by a goal from Yohan Boli. The Ivorian struck in the 46th minute to take Al Rayyan into the quarter-finals.

In the last-eight stage, Al Rayyan will meet Al Kharaitiyat who qualified at the expense of Al Wakrah, with a 2-1 win on Monday.

Al Rayyan have previously won the Amir Cup titles on six occasions, in 1999, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2011 and 2013. 

Elsewhere, Al Gharafa secured a berth in the quarters after defeating Al Shahania 5-4 in a thrilling penalty shoot-out. The scores read two-all at final whistle, 

Moayed Hassan (23) and Jonathan Kodjia (40) gave a 2-0 lead for Al Gharafa before Brirahim Gueye (83, 90) struck late to take the game into the shoot-out. 

Al Gharafa will now face Al Sadd for a place in the semi-finals.

The quarter-finals of Qatar’s most popular tournament will be held on February 27 and 28.

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