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Posted On: 18 May 2013 12:08 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:12 pm

Al Rayyan and Al Sadd to face off in season closer

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Al Rayyan are eager to end their ‘troubled season’ with the winner’s trophy in the final of the Emir Cup but for that to happen the boys in red will have to tackle Al Sadd’s impact players Raul and Khalfan Ibrahim in the title clash today, captain Fabio Cesar has said. Al Sadd, who won the Qatar Stars League (QSL) title last month, have been in devastating form ever since Raul, the former Real Madrid giant, joined them on a one-year deal last year in May. The QSL champions, who reached the Heir Apparent Cup final earlier this month, will be attempting to win their 14th Emir Cup title. Al Rayyan, last year’s Heir Apparent Cup champions, are eyeing their 6th Emir Cup triumph. “They are in a very good shape. They play well as a team under pressure and their key players Raul and Khalfan have been doing their best all through this season,” Cesar said ahead of the final game of the season today. “The experience of Raul and the form of Khalfan will be crucial for them,” the 32-year-old midfielder said. “We have had a troubled season but this final can give us the opportunity to close the season on a good note,” the national team player said. “It is a privilege to play this final,” Cesar said. “We have done the best of preparation and we feel we will arrive for the final in the best way possible,” Cesar added. Raul, the 35-year-old striker, wasted little breath while answering questions at a press conference. “Our preparation has gone well,” a glum-looking Raul said. “The motivation to win this final is at the highest level. We are ready for the final,” he added. When ribbed for some insight into the strengths of the opposition, Raul said: “Al Rayyan is a quality side. They play well as a team. The have experienced players.” Al Rayyan coach Diego Aguirre said the presence of two quality teams would ensure a thrilling encounter at Khalifa International Stadium today. Aguirre was quick to acknowledge that Al Sadd were indeed the ‘Doha giants’ when it came to football in the country. “Al Sadd, what can I say?. They are the best team in Qatar,” Aguirre said. “They won the league this year. They won the AFC Champions League (title in November 2011). I know they have a very good team,” he said. “But we know it is possible to win the Emir Cup. This is the last opportunity for us to win a title this season,” Aguirre said. “The players are motivated to give their best. I trust my players they will deliver. It could be the best final for many years,” the Al Rayyan coach added. Hussein Amute, the Al Sadd coach, presented his trademark ‘studious’ look at the pre-final press conference. “I don’t care if there are 2,000 fans at Khalifa Stadium or it is full of people. What is important is the players move the ball on the pitch. So the players are important,” Amute said when asked if the fan pressure would be tough to handle for his players. Amute said his team was raring for the final to start. “I feel it is a special final. It is not an ordinary final,” he said. “It is a game that is most valued in the country. I feel a quality game is most likely,” he said. When reminded about the Emir Cup final he took part in as an Al Sadd player a few years back, Amute said: “I hope that result could be repeated. But I know Al Rayyan is strong. They fight for titles. They probably didn’t win the QSL title but they fought well in the season.” Raul predicted it could be one of the finest games of football in the country. “I think it could be the best final in the history of Emir Cup,” the Spaniard said. “Don’t forget, it is the last game of the season,” he added. “This will be a tough game for both sides,” he said. “We know each other really well,” he added. When asked about the mood in his camp, Aguirre said: “I can’t promise that we will win. But I can tell you that everyone in Al Rayyan side, the coaches, the backroom staff, all of us want to win this title. It is possible.” Source : Qatar Chronicle