Inspired Al Sadd to take on Jaish in semis today
DOHA AL GHARAFA and Kharaitiyat will trade tackles in the first semifinal while Al Sadd and El Jaish are gearing up to play the other semi-final in the prestigious Emir Cup football tournament at the Al Sadd Stadium on Tuesday.
Gharafa, exuding confidence after its impressive 2-1 quarterfinal victory over Qatar Stars League champion Lekhwiya, is the favourite to go into the May 12 final. However, the Gharafa’s coach Paulo Silas is all praise for his opponent while emphasising the readiness of his team to overcome any opposition.
Speaking at a pre-match press conference, Paulo Silas said, “Kharaitiyat is a good team and must be respected for ousting Rayyan. They have two good strikers upfront and a mobile midfield that withstood Rayyan’s Tabata Cesar, not forgetting the enterprising goalkeeper.” “We are confident of winning the match and my team is prepared for the task ahead,” Silas asserted.
Veteran Brazilian midfielder, Ze Roberto said the team is determined to win the match and reiterated the coach’s respect for the opposition.
Gharafa’s only hope of silverware is the Emir Cup after it missed out in the top four of the QSL and was eliminated from the AFC Champions League.
Three days ago, Kharaitiyat showed tremendous courage against the Heir Apparent Champion Al Rayyan, beating it 4- 2 in a penalty shootout on Saturday and appears to be in good form to overcome the six times winner.
Kharaitiyat has never played in the final of the Emir Cup before.
Alain Perrin, Kharaitiyat’s coach, said, “It’s going to be a difficult game; I hope the players are ready because it’s an important match. “We’ll give all it takes to win the match, our spirit and concentration will be high.” Perrin was however uncomfortable with the fixture just three days after its quarter-final match.
“Three days are a very short time to prepare for a match of this magnitude.
I hope my players can raise their game.” Team’s top striker Jayce John said, “We are happy to find ourselves at this stage. Gharafa is a big team and we are confident of achieving the result.” The other clash of the evening will feature Al Sadd against El Jaish. Sadd edged out Al Wakrah 2-0 while Khor lost 5-3 to Jaish in a penalty shootout.
Al Sadd coach Jorge Fossati said, “The semi-final stage of any tournament is always tough and playing Jaish will be a cracking game. My team is ready for the game and is optimistic about entering the final.” Pericles Chamusca, coach of Jaish, said his players are well relaxed and confident of a good outing against Al Sadd. Team captain Karim Ziani said, “We hope to beat the Asian Champions and the best focused team should carry the day.” Emir Cup is played every season by 16 first and second division teams. The most successful team is Al Sadd that has won the tournament 13 times. The Emir Cup was organised for the first time in 1972 and Al Ahli won the championship.