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The quarters show: Al Duhail face Umm Salal; Al Sadd take on Al Khor

The quarters show: Al Duhail face  Umm Salal; Al Sadd take on Al Khor


IKOLI VICTOR
Doha
The road to Khalifa International Stadium is building up as the business end of Qatar's most prestigious club competition; Amir Cup is in the quarter-final stages with four matches scheduled this weekend.
League champions Al Duhail face Umm Salal in a duel Coach Djamel Belmadi says his Red Knights players must be focused if they have to go past Umm Salal on Thursday. The fifth placed side in the concluded season smashed Al Kharaitiyat 5-0 in the third round to get to this stage of the competition.
The other game on Thursday involves defending champions Al Sadd and Al Khor.
Al Khor survived a scare against Markhiya after 1-1 regulation time, and then won a marathon penalty shoot-out 10-9. Both matches will be played at the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium.
Belmadi said:"Everyone loves this competition either players or coaches and there is no choice but to win in it, as all the matches will carry a lot of surprises. There is no difference between the league champion and fifth place, we only have to focus and produce the perfect performance."
"In our last match against Al Sadd it was physical battle for the players and now we are in front of a new opposition in Umm Salal. This cup is precious to us and the players are enthusiastic and we have a big number of players ready to participate," Belmadi added.
Umm Salal coach Talal El Karkouri said:"It is a tricky showdown against the league and Qatar Cup champions and I do hope my players rise to the occasion."
Duhail are well rested for the clash and will rely on the strike partnership of Youssef El Arabi and Nam Tae Hee. Karim Boudiaf, Almoez Ali and Ismail Mohammed will provide the support for the forward players.
Duhail's only success in the competition was in the 2016 edition where they edged Al Sadd in penalty kicks. There's a potential clash between the two big clubs in the semi-finals, if they overcome their rivals.
Coach Jesualdo Ferreira announced the 18-man matchday squad for the game, which is as follows: Saad al Dosari, Meshaal Barsham, Yasser Abubakar, Musab Kheder, Khoukhi Boualem, Pedro Miguel, Morteza Pouraliganji, Hamid Ismail, Hassan al Haydos, Abdelkarim Hassan, Ali Ferydoon, Ahmed Sayyar, Alaadeen Younes, Akram Afif, Salem al Hajri, Ghassan Waheed, Hassan Ahmed, and Ahmed Suhail.
Al Sadd will miss four key players during Thursday's match Xavi Hernandez, Baghdad Bounedjah, Jugurtha Hamroun and Ali Asad. Xavi and Bounedjah have been suspended following the events of the Qatar Cup final against Al-Duhail while Ali Asad and Hamroun are injured.
Al Sadd assistant coach Nuno said on Wednesday:"Our preparations for this game has been normal, we haven't done anything new. The players have prepared well, although we didn't have enough time for training. We must keep in mind that if we lose this game, then we bid farewell to the tournament. We don't want that. Our goal is to get the win and go all the way in the Amir's Cup."
"We have faced a lot of difficulties recently, including injuries and refereeing errors, especially in the game against Al Duhail in the Qatar Cup final. It was like there were three teams playing Al-Sadd, Duhail and the referees. Each had to do its role. Whenever there's a mistake, it goes against Al Sadd," he added.
"Al-Khor will create problems for us. We must remain strong and give our best, maintaining our winning philosophy to reach the semi-finals."

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