Al Sadd pummels Lekhwiya 4-2
DOHA SENEGALESE striker Mammadou Niang produced a man-of-the-match show with a sizzling hat-trick and former Asian footballer of the year Ibrahim Khalfan struck a brilliant goal as Asian Champion Al Sadd pummeled a 10-man Qatar Stars League champion Lekhwiya 4-2 to reach the final of the Heir Apparent Cup at the Qatar Sports Club on Saturday.
Niang hit the first goal in the 31st minute, followed it up with another in the 38th minute from the penalty spot and completed the feat with a last gasp finish in the 93rd minute. Sadd’s other goal was scored by diminutive Khalfan in the 73rd minute.
For Lekhwiya, Algerian defender Madjid Bougherra and Korean Nam Tae were the scorers in the 51st and 84th minute.
Al Sadd will play the winner of the El Jaish and Rayyan match, in the final of the 18th edition on April 26.
Lekhwiya, coached by Djamel Belmadi, looked out of sorts after Niang scored two goals within a span of just six minutes in the first half.
The QSL champion played with 10 men since the 36th minute of the match after goalkeeper Baba Malick impeded Niang.
Portuguese referee Artur Manuel Ribeiro wasted no time and promptly flashed a red card to Malick. Reserve goalkeeper Amine Claud Lecomt replaced Hussain Shihab. Amine’s first duty was to stop a Niang penalty that was not to happen as the striker converted it neatly.
The Senegalese had a glorious chance to score in the 27th minute as he headed wide from close range. Five minutes later, Niang provided relief to the Sadd bench by scoring in the 32nd minute.
Standing from the centre of the field, the striker essayed a pass for Ibrahim who ran for a few metres deep into the Lekhwiya defence before finding Niang. He raced into the Lekhwiya box before calmly dispatching the ball past a diving Malick. Six minutes later, Niang doubled the lead from the spot for Sadd in dramatic fashion after Malick charged him inside the box.
Soon after the resumption of play in the second half, Lekhwiya put pressure and managed to win a penalty when Kone was brought down with a reckless challenge from Mohammed Kasola. Nam- Tae-He easily scored from the spot in the 51st minute to reduce the deficit. In the 73rd minute, Khalfan scored Al Sadd’s third goal with a thunderous effort that was only seen by the linesman, with the referee missing it.
Niang slipped in a neat pass for unmarked Ibrahim who launched a powerful shot from the edge of the box that flew through the hands of reserve goalkeeper Lecomte.
In the 84th minute, captain Bougherra produced a welltimed snap header for his side’s second goal.
In stoppage time, Niang completed his hat-trick from close range to seal Al Sadd’s amazing performance after Amine had done well to block Khalfan’s shot.
On Sunday, Al Rayyan takes on El Jaish at the Qatar Sports Club Stadium at 6.30 pm.