Qatar SC coach Sebastiao Lazaroni during a news conference. BELOW: Al Sadd coach takes a question during a separate press conference. INSET: The QNB Cup trophy on display. Al Sadd take on Qatar SC in the final of the QNB Cup at Al Arabi Stadium today.
DOHA: Football giants Al Sadd will be looking to add another piece of silverware to its bulging trophy cabinet today when they take on Qatar SC in the final of the QNB Cup at Al Arabi Stadium.
In the semi-finals two weeks ago, Al Sadd edged past Umm Salal (3-2), whereas, Qatar SC beat El Jaish (3-2) to reach the title clash.
Yet another year of thrilling and action packed matches in the QNB Cup has offered football fans plenty of lasting memories.
The QNB Cup is a Qatari football competition played throughout the Qatar Stars League (QSL) season. In previous seasons, there have been plenty of interesting ties and upsets along the way and this season was no different.
Many thought that the final would be contested by El Jaish and Al Sadd but once again this tournament has thrown up an unexpected result, putting Qatar SC into the QNB final.
The tournament creates another opportunity for teams to win more silverware especially for the teams who didn’t qualify for the AFC Champions League or the Qatar Cup.
The season long tournament is split into 3 groups who all take part in a round-robin to see who will qualify from each group.
Only one team qualified from each group except for Group C where two teams went through due to having one less team in their group.
Out of the three groups, it was widely considered that Group C was this season’s ‘group of death’, having some of the best teams in the country.
Group A was made up of five QSL teams: Al Sadd, Al Rayyan, Al Arabi, Muaither and Al Khor.
Group B included El Jaish, Al Ahli, Kharaitiyat, Gharafa and Al Wakrah. Group C included Umm Salal, Qatar SC, Lekhwiya and Al Sailiyah and as the smallest of the groups, two teams were allowed to qualify.
In Group A, Al Sadd finished top of their group on 9 points and qualified for the quarter finals. In Group B, El Jaish secured the only qualifying spot finishing on 10 points with Al Ahli just missing out with 8 points in second. Lastly Umm Salal and Qatar C qualified from Group C to reach the quarter-finals with both teams level on points (7) and the former finishing top on goal difference.
Al Sadd beat Muaither (2-1), Al Arabi (6-1), Al Khor (3-1), and Umm Salal (3-2) but lost to Rayyan (3-2) to reach the final.
Qatar SC only played four teams to reach the final due to qualifying via Group C.
They started their campaign drawing with a stubborn Umm Salal (1-1), and then they beat Qatar Stars League leaders Lekhwiya (4-3), Al Sailiyah (3-0) and El Jaish (3-2).
Qatar SC certainly had the tougher route to the final, having to play the harder matches and like all Cup finals, form isn’t necessarily a reliable indicator so this one could go either way. THE PENINSULA