Michael Olunga's efforts fall short as Al Duhail crash out of Amir Cup

Michael Olunga's efforts fall short as Al Duhail crash out of Amir Cup

Festus Chuma 09:30 - 19.05.2024

Michael Olunga's determined efforts weren't enough to prevent Al Duhail's elimination by Al Sadd in the Amir Cup semifinals.

Harambee Stars striker Michael Olunga's valiant efforts were not enough to steer Al Duhail to the Amir Cup final, as they were narrowly defeated 1-0 by Al Sadd in a tense semi-final clash at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium on Saturday.

Al Sadd successfully neutralized Al Duhail's attacking threats throughout the match with a pivotal moment coming in the 49th minute when Akram Afif broke the deadlock with a brilliant solo effort.

Weaving through the defense the attacker slotted the ball into the far left corner leaving Al Duhail's goalkeeper with no chance.

Despite Olunga's persistent efforts to break through Al Sadd's defense, his team struggled to create clear-cut opportunities. 

The Kenyan forward's influence was evident early in the game when a foul on him by Matheus Uribe resulted in a penalty for Al Duhail. 

However, their hopes were dashed when Al Sadd's goalkeeper, Meshal Barsham made a crucial save from Philippe Coutinho's penalty in the 24th minute.

The first half saw Al Sadd dominate possession and dictate the tempo. 

Akram Afif nearly opened the scoring in the 13th minute but his shot narrowly missed the target soaring over the crossbar.

Al Duhail's defense was frequently tested by Al Sadd's dynamic midfield play.

In the second half, Al Duhail intensified their efforts to find an equalizer. However, Al Sadd's defensive discipline and organization proved impenetrable. 

Al Duhail's coach Wesam Rizk made only one substitution, bringing on Pedro Miguel for Abdullah Al Yazidi in the 82nd minute but the change failed to alter the course of the game.

Midway through the second half, Al Sadd had a strong penalty appeal turned down when Akram Afif was brought down in the box, but the referee waved play on. 

Despite Al Duhail's relentless pressure in the closing stages, Al Sadd held firm to secure their place in the Amir Cup final for the 29th time where they will vie for their 19th title.

Al Sadd now await the winner of the other semi-final between Al Gharafa and Qatar SC to determine their opponent in the final.

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