Doha, Qatar: Al Sadd are hot favourites to lift the Amir Cup for a record-extending 19th time but coach Wesam Rizk has warned his side of a threat from spirited Qatar SC in today’s highly-anticipated final at the Education City Stadium.

The reigning Expo Stars League (ESL) champions have dominated Qatar SC this season beating them 3-1 and 3-0 in the top flight but coach Youssef Al Noubi-led side has been completely a different outfit in the prestigious tournament.

With their never-say-die approach, Qatar SC stunned fancied Al Rayyan and Al Gharafa – both in penalty shootouts – to enter the title clash for the first time in 20 years.

Rizk, who is a former Qatar SC coach, was not “surprised” to see Al Noubi’s men in the final.

“Qatar SC deserve to be here as they are ambitious and are playing with a lot of fighting spirit. I am expecting a tough and thrilling final,” the Al Sadd coach told reporters on the eve of the final.

“There are no favourites and both the teams will have equal chances when the final will kick off. We have given our best to prepare and our target is to win the trophy.”

Al Sadd also had a tough path in the tournament as they had to overcome Al Wakrah and Al Duhail to qualify for the final.

“We took one match at a time and succeeded through our teamwork. I am happy to have the likes of Akram Afif and Baghdad Bounedjah in our ranks,” said Rizk

The Wolves, who are Qatar’s most decorated club, failed to win a single title last season, and Rizk wants his side to avail the opportunity of sealing a double after regaining the ESL title.

“We have great motivation to win the Amir Cup and I hope we will lift the trophy to complete a double in the season.”

Al Sadd captain Hassan Al Haydos praised coach Rizk for guiding the side to wins in tough matches but the Qatar legend was also expecting a difficult challenge from Qatar SC.

“I have featured in many finals but every title clash is different. Tomorrow’s final will also be different and tough because Qatar SC have been outstanding in the Amir Cup,” the seasoned forward told the press conference.

“What is certain is that we are completely ready. Our coach Wesam Rizk has prepared us like we prepare before any other big match. We are determined to lay our hands on the trophy tomorrow.”

Qatar SC have clinched the Amir Cup twice in 1974 and 1976 when they were known as Al Esteqlal, and came closest to winning the trophy under their existing name in 2004 before Al Rayyan stopped them in the final.

Al Noubi was excited to be in the final but the mission is yet not accomplished for the tactician, who has garnered a widespread praise for guiding his side to the final.

“Playing the Amir Cup final tomorrow is an indescribable feeling,” he told a press conference.

“We have reached the final stage of the tournament thanks to the efforts of the players. Even though we were not favourites to win against our competitors in the previous rounds, especially against Al Rayyan and Al Gharafa, but we succeeded in achieving the surprise results. We will compete with Al Sadd to win and win the title even though it is one of the strongest clubs and a champion team.”

“We will do everything to achieve our ambition. We will play the final with the same mentality with which we played our three matches in the tournament, and we will fight tomorrow until the last minute in order to achieve victory.”

Sebastian Soria echoed his coach’s views, saying Qatar SC have the potential to pull off another stunning victory.

“We feel very proud in the club and are happy to play the final match, which will be difficult. But we are confident in our ability to win and win the title. We faced Al Rayyan and Al Gharafa and succeeded in defeating them, and I am confident that we are capable of defeating Al Sadd too,” said the forward.

“We have to enjoy the match because it is the most important match of the season and I hope to win the title...and as for our preparations, it was not special.”

With the final kicking off at 7:00pm, the 44,667-capacity Education City Stadium is expected to be packed with spectators. The organisers have advised the fans to reach the stadium early as entry will be allowed from 4:00pm. The spectators have also been advised to use Doha Metro for their convenience.

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