Al Sadd relish ‘significant’ milestone after Amir Cup triumph

Al Sadd relish ‘significant’ milestone after Amir Cup triumph

Fawad Hussain, The Peninsula

The iconic Education City Stadium was in a state of euphoria on Friday night as Al Sadd players and their fans celebrated their Amir Cup triumph after prevailing over Qatar SC in an exciting final.

The Wolves, this time under coach Wesam Rizq, stamped their authority in the prestigious tournament claiming the trophy for a record 19th time. Al Arabi are closest to them with nine crowns.   

Colombian midfielder Mateus Uribe scored the winning goal in 118th minute after the regulation time ended in goalless draw, as Al Sadd overcome spirited Qatar SC, who reached the title clash after beating the likes of Al Rayyan and Al Gharafa. The win also completed the season’s double for Rizk’s men as they also topped the Expo Stars League (ESL). 

Baghdad Bounedjah, who captained the side in his last match for Al Sadd, was overjoyed after lifting the trophy.

“It was the most beautiful moment of my life when I received the trophy from His Highness the Amir,” said the Algerian striker.

“This moment will remain in my memory and I want to thank Hassan Al Haydos who gave me the captain’s armband. It was a great gesture from him. I have not yet decided about my next destination, for now I will celebrate this great win,” Bounedjah, who earlier announced his departure from the club after eight years, said.

Qatar star Akram Afif, who was instrumental for Al Sadd throughout the season, was elated with the triumph.

“This Amir Cup crown, our 19th title triumph is certainly a significant milestone for us,” said Afif, who is the frontrunner to bag the Best Player accolade at today’s Qatar Football Association (QFA) Awards.

“It was a tough match as Qatar SC put up a great fight and I believe our team deserved the victory in the intense match. We maintained our focus to achieve our goal and we are delighted to claim the prestigious title.”

Paulo Otavio, who joined the club last year from German club Wolfsburg, also recounted his joy of winning Qatar’s most popular tournament.

“This is my first Amir Cup victory and it’s amazing after we fought hard for a win,” said the Brazilian.

“After winning the League, securing the double this season is fantastic. Al Sadd fans were great and their presence in such a large number in the final really motivated us and brought the best out of us.”

Boualem Khoukhi also thanked Al Sadd’s supporters, who outnumbered Qatar SC fans during the final.

“Our fans were really a driving force behind our victory in a difficult title clash. Lifting the Amir Cup trophy at the World Cup stadium is a great feeling. We showed great determination and fighting spirit to clinch this honour,” he said.

Al Sadd’s Sporting Director Mohammed Gholam, meanwhile, said the title was a great motivation for the club ahead of the new season.

“Winning the Amir Cup will serve as a motivation and a boost for the new season. Al Sadd always love the podium, and we are grateful to have finished the season with a remarkable double,” he said.