Doha: Al Duhail coach Rui Faria is thrilled to see his struggling side end the football season with a thrilling Amir Cup win over Doha giants Al Sadd on Thursday.
Playing in front of 38,678 fans in what was the first ever match played at Al Janoub Stadium, Al Duhail rallied from a goal down to beat former champions Al Sadd 4-1.
Akram Afif gave Al Sadd an early lead in the 6th minute before Ali Afif equalised for Al Duhail in the 13th minute.
In the second half, Edmilson scored in the 58th minute to make it 2-1 and then substitute Youssef El Arabi scored Al Duhail’s third goal in the 61st minute.
Al Duhail’s players and officials celebrate with the Amir Cup trophy on Thursday.
Edmilson then scored in the 81st minute to complete the scoring.
The match saw Al Duhail’s Almoez Ali get sent off while Al Sadd’s Tarek Salman, Hamed Ismail and Baghdad Bounedjah also got red cards.
“We had key players injured and some absent as well. After reaching the final, we were trying to complete the tough season with a win. I am so happy we won this,” coach Faria said after the match.
“We couldn’t do well in the Qatar Stars League. We were always looking to make up for that performance,” the Portuguese coach added.
“We arrived for the match ready to fight. We were well prepared. I had confidence in my players. I hope this win restores our confidence for the next season,” Faria said.
“I know the fans wanted this trophy and we got it. It is a great joy to be one of the winners of this tournament once again,” he said before adding that his side’s name will remain in history after the triumph.
“It was the first match at Al Janoub Stadium and now Al Duhail’s name is there as the first side to win the Amir Cup here. But I must tell you it was not an easy game by any stretch of the imagination. It was a real battle,” he added.
“When you concede an early goal like we did against a side like Al Sadd, things can get tough for you as a team,” Faria said of Akram Afif’s 7th minute strike on Thursday night.
Al Duhail coach during the Amir Cup final on Thursday.
“I give credit to the players for fighting it out. It was a heroic performance from them. They were not affected by the pressure of playing such a huge game. It was a brave show by Al Duhail players,” the coach said.
“I must say the two teams played without fear. It was an attacking game all the way. We were more focused in the second half,” he said. “I believe my players know how to deal with the pressure of a match like this.
“There were more opportunities to score but we could not. We could have won by a bigger margin. Edmilson and Youssef could have scored more goals,” the coach said. “When we scored the third goal, I knew we would win the match,” Faria said with a smile.
Edmilson Jr said: “This win was possible with the support of the players and the team management. This win is for the fans. They supported us all the way.”
Al Duhail’s Karim Boudiaf, who missed the final, said: “It was a thrilling win for us in a tough match. We have won this title for the second successive year. What a great effort by everybody in the team and the management. I was hoping to play but I couldn’t recover in time for the match.”
He added: “Al Duhail have proved that they are one of the top sides. It was a great feeling to play this match at the new Al Janoub Stadium.”
Al Duhail striker Almoez Ali, who was shown a red card in the first half, said: “It was a wonderful performance by the players. They have written history by winning the first ever match played at Al Janoub Stadium. We have now won two titles and that too Qatar’s biggest football tournament.” When asked about his expulsion from the match, Ali said: “I do not want to talk about it. I was sad at my expulsion from the match but I am happy that we have won the match. I have forgotten everything. I personally consider this season as historic for me because I won the Asian Cup with Qatar.”