Qatar SC beat Al Rayyan to face Al Gharafa in Amir Cup semi-final

Qatar SC beat Al Rayyan to face Al Gharafa in Amir Cup semi-final

The Peninsula

Doha, Qatar: Qatar SC stunned Al Rayyan 5-4 in a penalty shootout after a dramatic 4-4 draw to set up Amir Cup semi-final clash against Al Gharafa at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium yesterday.

Sataa Abdulnaser Al Abbasi blocked Al Rayyan star Roger Guedes’ attempt in the shootout as Qatar SC converted all of their penalties with substitute Ali Awad Bujaloof netting the winner in the epic battle.

It was a frustrating end to the season for Leonardo Jardim’s Al Rayyan, who remained without a trophy after finishing runners-up in the Expo Stars League and the Qatar Cup.

But Qatar SC celebrated their memorable victory as they will now hope to qualify for the final for the first time in 20 years. Yacine Brahimi had starred for Al Gharafa scoring a brace in a 4-2 win over Umm Salal in another thrilling quarter-final yesterday.       

Al Gharafa's Yacine Brahimi (left) celebrates with teammate Ahmed Alaaeldin after scoring his second goal. 

Qatar SC, led by coach Youssef Al Noubi, fought hard to beat Al Rayyan, who first overcame a two-goal deficit and then came back through a last-gasp equaliser as the regulation time ended at 3-3.

They got off to a strong start and went ahead with a rising header from Ibrahim Majid off Bruno Ramos’ free kick in the 15th minute, with Yohan Boli stretching their lead in 38th minute.

Guedes pounced on to score Al Rayyan’s first goal from a close range off a rebound seven minutes later after Al Abbasi failed to push the ball to safety while blocking Gabriel Pereira’s initial attempt.

The Lions continued to attack for an equaliser and Rodrigo Moreno found it as he volleyed in Pereira’s headed pass in the 66th minute.

Bruno Tabata converted a spotkick in fifth minute of stoppage time after Basam Al Rawi’s foul against substitute to put Qatar SC on top again but Sofiane Boufal’s strike from outside the box in final moments of stoppage time took the game to extra time.

Al Rayyan took the lead for the first time in 104th minute of the dramatic quarter-final as Qatar SC’s Javier Martines inadvertently put the ball into his own net while trying to block Achraf Bencharki’s cross.

After Ahmed Al Rawi’s goal in second half of extra time was rejected by VAR for Moreno’s handball, Tabata smashed the ball into the top left corner to level the scores again in 117th minute and take match to the penalty shootout where Guedes’ miss ended Al Rayyan’s hopes of a silverware this season.

Brahimi shines in Al Gharafa’s win

Earlier at the Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium, Al Gharafa seemed to be cruising towards an easy win as they built a strong 3-0 lead by 68th minute before Umm Salal gave them a late scare.

But luck eluded the Orange Fortress, who fought hard to make a comeback late in the match. The reigning Ooredoo Cup champions were denied penalties on a couple of occasions before VAR ruled out their goal in a crucial moment during the bitterly-contested quarter-final. They were also reduced to 10-man four minutes before time after Ali Afif was sent off.

Algerian midfielder Farid Boulaya had put Pedro Martins’ side into lead in third minute with a powerful shot from the edge of the box, before a VAR check following a collision between Al Gharafa goalkeeper Khalifa Ababacar and Umm Salal’s Lucas Joao five minutes later ruled out a penalty for Patrice Carteron-coached side.

Lyanco rose highest in the box to head Al Gharafa’s second goal off a corner kick in first minute of added time before the break.

Soon after the game resumed, referee turned down Umm Salal’s appeal for a penalty after a VAR check following Fabricio Diaz’s challenge against Joao, who sneaked into the box from the right.

It was Al Gharafa, who extended the lead with captain Brahimi slotting on top of the net after an assist from Qatar international Ahmed Alaaeldin.

Umm Salal launched a fightback in 74th minute through Lucas Eduardo, who picked a lofty pass from the centre while evading clueless Ababacar to net comfortably in the end.

Kenji Gorre thought he had brought Umm Salal closer with a header five minutes later but his goal was ruled out for offside. There was more trouble for Carteron’s men as Ali was handed a red card in a melee following the VAR decision that cancelled the goal.

But Umm Salal continued to fight and Abdullah Khalid revived their hopes with a goal in fifth minute of stoppage time but Brahimi ended their slim chances of a comeback with his second goal.

“Umm Salal were tough and they fought until the end even with 10 men. We are happy to clear the hurdle and now we will focus on the semi-final,” said Al Gharafa’s Homam Al Amin.

“We are making great effort to win a trophy this season after missing the opportunities in the Expo Stars League and the Qatar Cup.”