WATCH: Fireworks expected as Al Sadd take on Al Rayyan in the Amir Cup final

WATCH: Fireworks expected as Al Sadd take on Al Rayyan in the Amir Cup final

By QLSports

Another battle-royale is anticipated inside the magnificent and ultramodern Al Thumama Stadium when 17-time champions Al Sadd take on arch-rivals Al Rayyan in the final of the 2021 HH the Amir Cup today before a sold-out crowd of 40,000 (maximum capacity) in the first sports event to be held at full capacity post-COVID-19.

The 7 pm (local time) clash will also mark the official commissioning of the Al Thumama Stadium - the sixth venue constructed for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, which will hold matches up to the quarter-finals of the tournament.

Xavi Hernandez-coached Al Sadd are undisputedly the hot favorites to lift the new trophy introduced last year for the second time in a row at the end of the day’s proceedings considering their 5-1 head-to-head advantage over their opponents in the Amir Cup final. The Wolves have been in dominant form in the last two years, having won almost all the domestic titles on the cards.

Of the six times the two clubs, who both command the largest following in the country, have met (1976–77, 1981–82, 1990–91, 1999–2000, 2013 and 2017), six-time champions Al Rayyan have managed to beat their opponent only in 2013 with a slim margin of 2-1.

While Al Sadd have appeared in the final of the prestigious tournament a whopping 26 times, The Lions, managed by former French international Laurent Blanc, on the other hand, have only been able to do so 17 times.

With six successive victories and 26 goals scored so far in the league this season, the attacking trio of Baghdad Bounedjah, Santi Cazorla and Akram Afif, joined by the newly-signed Ghana captain Andre Ayew, are expected to be as ruthless as ever against an Al Rayan side who are struggling in the start of the season with just a win from six games.

The Lions, who have only managed to find the net eight times and with a -4 goal-difference so far this season, will doubtlessly need an extra morale-booster to achieve victory against the all-conquering former champions of Asia. Al Rayyan suffered a 0-3 thrashing in the hands of Al Duhail as opposed to their opponent’s 6-4 over Al Gharafa in Week 6 of the league.

This season, the two sides have made some high-profile signings, with Ayew joining Al Sadd from English-side Swansea City and Colombian star James Rodriguez putting pen on paper for Al Rayyan from Premier League side Everton.

Ayew seems to have gotten into the rhythm faster than expected in Qatar, and he is enjoying a great start with five goals scored in six matches played for Al Sadd, having only failed to score on his debut against Al Sailiya.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez, who was unveiled with great fanfare last month, only made his debut last week against Al Duhail after being sidelined with a muscle injury.

Despite the heavy favorites tag, Sadd’s head coach Xavi emphasized the difficulty of the clash.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference, Xavi said, “A difficult and complicated match awaits us, contrary to what some think. We are excited to play the match. We have gone through a long period to reach this final. We are very happy to be at Al Thumama Stadium.

“Our match with Al Rayyan is the Clasico of Qatari football, and we have complete respect for Al Rayyan. It is a good team that has a good coach with great experience in Europe, and they have excellent players like James and Nzonzi.”

Xavi, the former Barcelona midfield maestro, said his team would look to go all out in attack in the final, a style of play that has brought the Wolves a huge success. “We will not change our style of play. We need to attack, control and win,” he said.

The Sadd coach said their dominance in the QNB Stars League would count for little on a big occasion like the Amir Cup. “We have to control the details, whether in attack or defense. All details are important. We cannot make mistakes. We will fight and strive to win. We must have the determination and a great desire to win. This is the Al Sadd that we want.”

Meanwhile, Rayyan coach Blanc was hopeful of causing an upset. “The beginning of the season has not been good for us, but we have had some circumstances. It is not an excuse but a reality,” said the Frenchman yesterday.

“We have had three new players, Ahmed Yasser, James Rodriguez and Nzonzi arrive very late. They haven’t played a game in two months, so we need time. I know that time in football is very short, but we need time to be better. I hope tomorrow we can play better than in the first game which we lost. I am sure the players are ready for tomorrow. Al Sadd is a good team; I have said that, and all the other coaches say that. But hopefully, we are ready to fight with Al Sadd to win this game,” he added.

The gates are expected to be opened by 4 pm, and fans are advised to arrive on time for the local “El Classico”.

---

Make sure to check out our social media to keep track of the latest content.

Instagram - @qatarliving

Twitter - @qatarliving

Facebook - Qatar Living

YouTube qatarlivingofficial

COVID-19 Banner
Log in or register to post comments

More from Qatar Living

Qatar sets Guinness World Record for most nationalities planting tree at the same time

Qatar sets Guinness World Record for most nationalities planting tree at the same time

The Supervisory Committee for the Beautification of Roads and Public Places in Qatar has set a new Guinness Global Record for the ‘Most Nationalities Planting Trees at the Same Time’, adding to Qatar's long collection of world records.
Qatar Energy announces fuel prices for November 2021

Qatar Energy announces fuel prices for November 2021

Qatar Energy has released the latest fuel price list, effective Monday, November 1, 2021.
9th edition of Ajyal Film Festival to feature 85 inspiring films from 44 countries

9th edition of Ajyal Film Festival to feature 85 inspiring films from 44 countries

Presented by the Doha Film Institute (DFI), the Ajyal Film Festival will see weeklong film screenings and community-oriented events under the theme, ‘Press Play!’
5 Spots for BBQ in Qatar

5 Spots for BBQ in Qatar

As we get comfortable with the winds getting chillier and take out those light snazzy jackets, we couldn’t help but choose our top spots for BBQ in Qatar for you!
WATCH: Spectacular Al Thumama Stadium becomes sixth tournament-ready venue for Qatar 2022

WATCH: Spectacular Al Thumama Stadium becomes sixth tournament-ready venue for Qatar 2022

Qatar’s latest FIFA World Cup™ tournament venue was unveiled on Friday night when Al Thumama Stadium hosted the Amir Cup Final between Al Rayyan and Al Sadd.
WATCH: HH the Amir, Father Amir perform rain-seeking prayers

WATCH: HH the Amir, Father Amir perform rain-seeking prayers

Qatar’s Amir His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani performed the Istisqa prayer earlier this morning together with worshippers in the Al-Wajbah prayer ground.
WATCH: Qatar Living wraps up successful participation at Cityscape 2021

WATCH: Qatar Living wraps up successful participation at Cityscape 2021

Qatar Living (QL) successfully concluded its participation at the ninth edition of the country’s most prestigious and influential real estate and networking event, Cityscape Qatar 2021, held at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center earlier this week.
WATCH: Sheikha Moza discusses QF’s establishment from vision to reality

WATCH: Sheikha Moza discusses QF’s establishment from vision to reality

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation (QF) shared insights into how the foundation went from vision to reality at a special panel discussion aired on Qatar TV yesterday.