Qatari club Al Sadd sets up Barça clash
TOYOTA, Japan - Agence France-Presse
Supporters of Tunisia’s Esperance Sportive de Tunis scuffle with police officers. REUTERS photoQatar’s Al Sadd will play Barcelona in the semifinals of the Club World Cup after the Asian champion stunned Esperance of Tunisia 2-1 yesterday, sparking fan violence and a pitch invasion.
The Doha side’s win means Asian teams have won all five meetings against African opposition at the intercontinental tournament, but more importantly Al Sadd players will now be able test themselves against the sublime Catalans on Thursday.
The other major talking point will be how an irate Esperance fan managed to jump the barrier by the pitch and make for Al Sadd goalkeeper Mohamed Saqr before being dragged to the ground just feet away from him.
There were several other disturbances in the stands at the state-of-the-art Toyota Stadium at the end of an entertaining game, as furious Esperance fans clashed with police and stewards.
Esperance supporters and players were left seething at Chilean referee Enrique Osses after they had two “goals” ruled out for offside and had a strong claim for a penalty, all in the dying minutes.
The Africans’ coach Nabil Maaloul apologized for the violence.
“I’m really sorry. Sometimes that happens. Tunisia and Al Sadd are sisters, but of course this should not happen,” he said.
Al Sadd’s Uruguayan coach Jorge Fossati was more focused on Barcelona, saying it was a “dream” to take on the European champions.
“This victory tonight was a milestone,” Fossati said. “This was really important, not just for me, but for the players.
“Barcelona are the best team in the world and it will be the most difficult challenge in the players’ career.”