Al Rayyan and Al Sailiya completed the semi-final line up for the prestigious Amir Cup after winning their quarter-final encounters yesterday. Rayyan needed penalties to overcome a fighting Al Arabi after the match ended 2-2 in full time, while Al Sailiya staved off a late challenge from Al Ahli 3-2.
In the semi-finals, Rayyan will take on QNB Stars League champions Al Sadd on May 11, while Sailiya lock horns with defending champions Al Duhail the next day.
On Thursday, Al Sadd had beaten Al Gharafa, while Duhail overcame Al Shahania. The final will be played at the newly-built Al Wakrah on May 16.
Yesterday, Rayyan and Arabi were locked at 2-2 after a pulsating encounter with both teams going all out for a victory.
Hosts Arabi went into the lead after winter-signing Wilfred Bony converted a penalty in the 13th minute, but Rayyan equalized through captain Rodrigo Tabata in the 36th minute.
Post half time, Arabi took the lead again after Mohamed Salah found the net in the 71st minute.
Rayyan, however, like in recent times found their hero in Gelmin Rivas, who slotted home with just three minutes remaining.
In the ensuing penalties, Al Arabi had a disastrous start with both Bony and captain Ahmed Ibrahim al-Khafaji off target. Diego Jardel and Victor Vazquez did find the net but with Rayyan players – Tabata, Myongin Koh, Lucca Borges and Gonzalo Viera – all converting their penalties, Arabi went out of the competition in front of home fans.
Earlier, Al Sailiya came through a late fightback from Al Ahli. Both teams started the match cautiously before Sailiya took control. They took the lead through Abdulqadir Ilyas, who fired home after receiving a pass from Abdelkader Elias in the 39th minute.
In the 64th minute, Mohamed Mudether made it 2-0, when once again Elias played a wonderful pass to his team-mate. Fourteen minutes later Sailiya were 3-0 up when Syrian Fahad Yousef found the net.
Sailiya were cruising to the semis at this stage but Jonathan Porras brought Al Ahli back into the match with a double strike in the 82nd and 94th minute. Ahli went all out for the equaliser in the seven-minute long injury time, but ran out of times.
Al Ahli looked impressive in the first 25 minutes before Al Sailiya took control of the proceedings.
The Peregrines begun to launch back-to-back attacks and finally got the reward in 39th minute when Abdulqadir Illyas fired a field goal, beating goal-keeper Yazan Naim on his right with a fast kick. Al Sailiya doubled their lead in 64th minute, with Illyas providing an assist with a short pass inside the circle, leaving little work to be done for substitute Mohammed Rajeb, who put the ball past goalie.
Coach Sami Trabelsi’s side made it 3-0 through Fahad Youssef, who scored in 78th minute before Al Ahli attempted to fight back in the match.
Substitute Jonathan Andre produced a stunning display inside the circle beating a couple of Al Sailiya defenders, eventually clearing the ball through goal-keeper Saoud Mubarak to score first goal for Al Ahli in 82nd minute.
Andre also scored in the penultimate of injury time off a corner, making it 2-3 for Al Ahli, but there was not much time left for them as Al Sailiya walked away as the winners.
The last moments of the game saw the expulsion of Sailiya’s Medhtar, who received a second yellow after a lunging late tackle.Courtesy:Gulf Times