The Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani hands over the trophy to Al Gharafa captain Othman El Assas at the Khalifa Stadium in Doha yesterday.
BY RIZWAN REHMAT
DOHA: Al Gharafa yesterday beat Al Sadd 4-3 on penalties to become Emir Cup champions for the seventh time.
For the second time in five days, Al Gharafa held their nerves in a penalty shoot-out to win the trophy that matters in Qatar.
Goalkeeper Qasim Burhan blocked two spot kicks to power Al Gharafa to win at a packed Khalifa Stadium.
The Emir, H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, watched the final and presented the medals to players and officials of both the teams.
At the end of the presentation ceremony, the Emir handed over the trophy to Al Gharafa captain Othman El Assas.
For the winners, El Assas, Diego Tardelli, Ze Roberta and Fahad Al Shammari scored from their spot kicks.
Only defender Lawrence Quaye missed a penalty for Al Gharafa.
Al Sadd — who dominated the match in regulation time — scored off the first three penalties taken by Mamadouh Niang, Abdul Qader Keita and Wisam Rizq.
However, the former champions choked on the fourth and fifth penalties taken by Hassan Al Haydos and Nadir Belhadj.
Coached by Paulo Silas, Al Gharafa have now sealed a berth in next year’s AFC Champions League, the continent’s top club event. For a club that sacked its coach Bruno Metsu just two months ago, it was a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for
Al Gharafa now managed by Silas.
Al Sadd, the Asian champions, failed to win a trophy in the 2011-2012 home season.
Coached by Jorge Fossati,
Al Sadd were eyeing their 14th Emir Cup win.
Hamed Shami of Al Gharafa said: “It was a tense penalty shoot-out. I would say luck favoured us in the shoot-out and we won. But I think we deserved to win this title. It was an important football event in Qatar. It was a tiring match. The hot weather was not that easy to deal with. Both teams performed well but we got the big trophy. We are winning after a long time but we deserved to win.”
In March, Lekhwiya won the Qatar Stars League (QSL) title for the second time in a row whereas Al Rayyan won the Heir Apparent Cup late last month.
QSL side Al Wakra won the QNB Qatar Stars Cup in early March.