Al Arabi emerged as the Amir Cup handball tournament champions after they edged Al Rayyan 38-37 in a pulsating final at Duhail Handball Sports Hall, on Saturday.
Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) President H E Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani crowned the winners with the prestigious trophy after they prevailed in a tough battle against Al Rayyan, who fought until the end. Al Rayyan players also received their medals from the QOC President.
Four-time champions Al Rayyan led in the beginning, but Al Arabi returned to their best and secured a 19-16 at half-time, before wrapping up a phenomenal victory in the second half to lift the Amir Cup for third time.
It was a game of mixed fortunes in the first half after Al Rayyan’s Amin Zakar opened the scoring following the start. Al Rayyan managed to keep their one-goal lead until the first nine minutes before Al Arabi went ahead for the first time making it 7-6 the next minute.
Al Arabi goalkeeper Arhad Ali made several brilliant saves that helped his side build a lead after the scores were leveled 10-10 in the 17th minute.
They opened a three-goal lead with scores being 15-12 in 24th minute before Al Rayyan cut the lead three minutes later with Mohamed Shokri making 14-15 with a fabulous strike.
However, Al Arabi regained the three-goal advantage following a two-minute suspension for Zakar, entering the half-time with a 19-16 lead.
Al Arabi started the second half brimming with confidence and built a 25-20 lead, 10 minutes after the interval. Al Rayyan managed to reduce the lead but stayed two goals behind until Omar Al Safadi gave Al Rayyan hopes of a comeback taking the score to 38-37.
But, Al Arabi survived the tense last 25 seconds to secure the prestigious title as the final whistle sparked jubilant celebration among players and fans.
Al Arabi SC Vice President Mohammed Jassim Al Kuwari expressed his delight after the win, saying the club would make improvement for a better show in the next season.
“It’s an important title for us. We faced some problems with injuries to players but we managed to seal the title. The club will continue to strive and will aim for more Amir Cup titles in the next season,” he said.
On their way to title triumph, Al Arabi knocked out defending champions Al Duhail in the quarter-final and edged Al Ahli in a thrilling semi-final.