Doha: Al Sadd, buoyed by their qualification for the quarter-finals stage of the AFC Champions League, will be eyeing their first silverware of the 2013-14 season as they take on minnows Al Sailiya in the final of the Emir Cup at the Khalifa International Stadium today.
Doha giants Al Sadd qualified for the last eight stage of the AFC Champions League on away goals after a thrilling 2-2 draw with Iranian champions Foolad Khouzestan three days ago.
Coach Hussein Amute, however, struck a cautious note yesterday, saying the AFC Champions League and the Emir Cup could not be compared.
“We are confident but the final will be a tough match. Anything can happen in football. A second division side can beat a top ranked team and so on. We will play to our full potential and try to lay our hands on the trophy,” said the Moroccan, who saw his team finish runners-up to Al Rayyan in last year’s edition of the Emir Cup.
“We seek to compensate for the loss of the league title and the loss in the semi-finals of the Qatar Cup. We hope to win the title to make up for the loss,” he added.
Looking back at the performance this season, Amute, who guided Al Sadd to the QSL title last season, said a place in the last eight of the AFC Champions League was a huge morale booster for the team ahead of the Emir Cup and for the next season.
“Yes, we did not win anything in the local competitions, so qualifying for the quarter-finals of the AFC Champions League was a good thing to happen and a huge relief for lot of us at the club. The qualification will raise the confidence level of the players,” the 44-year-old said.
Al Sadd is the only Qatar Stars League (QSL) side which has made it to the last eight stage of the AFC Champions League. QSL clubs Al Rayyan, Lekhwiya and El Jaish failed to make past the group stage.
When asked about his future at the club, Amute said: “I am working on building a team for the next season. I have named a few players and they are likely to join us in the next season.”
Al Sailiya, who finished fourth in the QSL, are hoping to carry forward their roller-coaster form into the final of the season-ending championship.
“At the start of the football season, we were underdogs, but we finished fourth which was quite a performance. Now we are in the Emir Cup final, hopefully, we will go all the way and win it,” Al Sailiya’s Tunisian coach Sami Trabelsi said.
For Al Sailiya this is their first Emir Cup final and the fact they will playing in their maiden final will motivate the players, Trabelsi said.
“Al Sadd has experienced players and have played in finals before of the Emir Cup. For my team this is the first time we are in the final,” Trabelsi said.
“The players are motivated to give their best having reached so far. We have beaten higher ranked teams in QSL and in Emir Cup and hopefully we will continue our good show in the final.”
Today’s finalists took contrasting routes to the final.
In the semi-finals, Al Sailiya defeated Al Ahli 3-0 in a penalty shoot-out, after sharing four goals at the end of full-time play. On the other hand, Doha giants Al Sadd were lucky to edge Al Gharafa 2-1. THE PENINSULA
DOHA: Today’s Emir Cup final will be covered by no less than 100 cameras, Issa Al Hitmi, CEO of Al Kass TV said.
Al Sadd take on Al Sailiya in the title clash at Khalifa International Stadium.
“We have plans to usee more than 100 cameras to cover the final match and the atmosphere inside and outside the stadium in addition to the special cameras to cover the march of the winning team around the Doha Corniche,” Al Hitmi said at a press conference.
He pointed out that for the first time the channel will be using two new types of cameras that have never been used for football games in Asia or in the Middle East. The final will start at 7:00pm today.