QSL Cup Final Preview — Al Gharafa vs Al Rayyan
The QSL Cup final, to be fought between Al Gharafa and A Rayyan at the Qatar SC Stadium on Tuesday, 19th December, from 19:00, has a touch of history to it.
Al Gharafa had won the inaugural edition by defeating Al Ahli 5-0 in the title round. The rest four editions of the tournament saw different champions, so Al Gharafa will repeat history should they win the final.
Al Sadd (2010-11), Al Wakrah (2011-12), erstwhile El Jaish (2012-13) and Qatar SC (2013-14) were the other winners before the QSL Cup was revived this season after a gap of three years.
Al Gharafa and Al Rayyan had advanced from the group stage as winners with 13 points each. In the semifinals, Al Gharafa defeated Umm Salal by an all-important goal scored by Monqeth Mohamed late into the game, while Al Rayyan prevailed over Al Kharaitiyat 2-0 through goals from Sebastian Soria and Daniel Goumou.
Both teams’ path to the semifinals was almost similar.
In Group A, Al Gharafa blanked Al Khor 2-0, defeated Al Duhail 1-0, beat Qatar SC 2-1, drew with Al Kharaitiyat 1-1 and prevailed over Al Sailiya 4-0.
Al Rayyan were in cruise control in Group B right from the beginning. The Lions started off by defeating Al Ahli 2-0, registered a 5-1 victory over arch-rivals Al Sadd, got the better of Al Markhiya 5-2, beat Umm Salal 1-0 and were held goalless by Al Arabi in the last round after they sealed their berth in the semifinals.
On the competition front, Al Rayyan enjoy a slight edge over their rivals if their present form and strength are anything to go by.
In the QNB Stars League, which has taken a break and will resume in early January, Al Rayyan are third with 25 points, whereas Al Gharafa stand seventh on 11 points. Al Rayyan are better off and had even occupied the second spot before Al Sadd displaced them in Week 11.
Al Rayyan had struggled in the last two games, being held by Umm Salal and having lost to Al Ahli, but they showed no signs of slump while putting it past Al Kharaitiyat in the semifinal.
Injured Moroccan striker Abderrazaq Hamdallah played the match, having recovered from his thigh injury. Rodrigo Tabata, Sebastian Soria and Mohsine Moutaouali add teeth to their attack.
Al Gharafa are a good mix of youth and experience. They have Luis Jimenez leading from the front, ably backed by Diogo Amado, Othman Al Yahri, Amro Seraj and Almahdi Ali.
It will be a big treat for the fans as well when Jean Fernandez-coached Al Gharafa challenge the might of Michael Laudrup’s Al Rayyan.
The match will be decided in tie-breaker if extra time of 15 minutes each and regulation time end in stalemate.
Half-time activities lined up for the fans include a football challenge competition. Participants can dribble and shoot at the goal, and stand to gain attractive prizes.
Details can be had at http://qsl.qa/en/news/qsl-cup-final-ticket-sales-continue