Arch-rivals lock horns in mouth-watering clash
After shadowing Qatar Stars League (QSL) champions Lekhwiya for most of the season, Jesualdo Ferreira's Al Sadd settled for a creditable second-placed finish as the QSL season concluded last weekend. However, Al Sadd will be thinking of silverware on Thursday evening whey face local rivals Al Rayyan in the first semi-finals of the Qatar Cup that kicks off at Al Sadd Stadium.
Sadd coach Jesaldo Ferreira - who has been with the Al Sadd side for two seasons now - will also be keen to see his captain Xavi deliver a match winning performance against the former QSL champions.
The Wolves have a fully fit side heading into the crunch match, and will be hoping for a repeat performance of their 4-1 win over Al Rayyan last time in the league. Algerian striker Baghdad Bounedjah will be the danger man in attack for Sadd with the Algerian striker finishing the season with a tally of 23 goals to his name is set to return fresh after missing out on the last game of the league season through suspension.
Al Rayyan, finished third behind Lekhwiya and Al Sadd in the QSL standings will be eyeing their first ever Qatar Cup final under the guidance of Danish coach Michael Laudrup. Rayyan should also have a fully fit side for the game, and may elect to change up the side with AFC Champions League commitments ahead.
Rayyan have lost twice heavily to Al Sadd in the league this season and will be hoping to buck the trend on Thursday. One player set for a starring role is Rayyan’s talismanic captain Rodrigo Tabata. Rayyan’s number 10 is clearly the man in form at the moment having struck a timely hat-trick in Al Rayyan's final game of the season against Al Khor last week. Deadly from set-pieces and on the counter, the Qatar international will be expected to lead Al Rayyan to glory on Thursday.
It promises to be a fasinating encounter when two fierce rivals take on each other with a place in the Qatar Cup final on the line. You can pick up tickets for the match here.