Kuwait SC crowned the 2012 AFC Cup champions
Kuwait SC were crowned AFC Cup champions for the second time in four years when Ion Marin’s side handed Arbil SC a 4-0 defeat in the final at the Iraqi club’s Francouse Al Hareeri Stadium on Saturday night. A full house turned out to support Nizar Mahrous’s side as they sought to become the first Iraqi side to win the AFC Cup, but the Kuwaitis continued their hoodoo over the Iraqis to lift the title and emulate the achievement of Jordanian club Al Faisaly.
Kuwait SC’s win comes three years after their first success in 2009 and a year after losing in the final to Nasaf from Uzbekistan, but there was to be no such disappointment for Ion and his side this time around. The two sides had met in the knockout stages of the competition on two previous occasions – in 2009 in the quarterfinals and in the semifinals last year – and on both occasions Kuwait emerged victorious.
Arbil’s hopes of a success were hit early in the game when Walied Ali was hauled down in the area and referee Valentin Kovalenko from Uzbekistan had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot. Chadi Hammami stepped up to the spot-kick and made no mistake, striking the ball right footed past Sarhank Mohsin Nader, who guessed correctly but was unable to reach the perfectly struck effort. Kuwait SC continued to exert control over proceedings with Fahad Al Enezi, forcing a fine save from Nader with a long range effort while Arbil only managed to threaten from distance as the Kuwait defence held firm. With three minutes remaining in the first half, Kuwait SC hit forward on the break with Issam Jemaa collecting a long punt forward on the right of the penalty area before rolling the ball through to the on-rushing Rogerinho, who tapped in from inside the six yard box to double his side’s lead.
Arbil had been second best throughout the opening 45 minutes but came out for the second period in determined mood. Taher saw his effort go just over the bar two minutes after the break while Sadeer’s free kick was saved by Musab Al Kandari, only for Ivan Bukenya to steal in on the rebound, but his effort failed to find the back of the net. With Arbil growing increasingly desperate to find a way back into the game, the home side pushed further forward and it came as little surprise when Kuwait SC struck on the counterattack. In the 83rd minute, Abdulhadi Khamis struck with aplomb with a right footed effort and with barely seconds on the clock, Hammami rolled the ball home to claim his second and complete a remarkable night for Kuwait SC.