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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Michael Olunga scores hat-trick as Al-Duhail thrash Al Ahli Doha 6-0 in Emir Cup

By The Standard

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Kenyan international Michael Olunga scored a hat-trick as Al-Duhail SC thrashed Al-Ahli Doha 6-0 in the Emir Cup Round of 16. 

The match staged at the Grand Hamad Stadium in Doha, Qatar, saw Olunga put the Qatari champions ahead through a penalty in the 6th minute before doubling his tally three minutes to half-time. In-between, 26-year-old Edmilson Junior had scored.

Olunga made it 4-0 in the 68th minute after a pleasant assist from the Brazilian before he was taken off two minutes later for Qatari Mohammed Muntari.

Muntari assisted countryman Luiz Junior for the fifth in the 77th minute before Doha’s Ghanaian defender John Benson got a straight red card five minutes from time. Edmilson Junior again sealed the game in stoppage time to make it 6-0.

Olunga will debut at the 2020 FIFA Club World Cup after Al-Duhail SC were handed Al Ahly in the quarter-finals to be staged in Qatar on February 4.

In the draw held in Zurich, Switzerland on Tuesday, Al Duhail will face the African champions with the winner coming up against Champions League winners and Bundesliga Kings Bayern Munich.

The other matches will see Tigres UANL from Mexico face off against Ulsan Hyundai from South Korea.

The winner here books a semi-final date against South American champions, who will be known when Brazilian sides Palmerais and Santos face off in the CONMEBOL final on January 30.

Auckland City withdrew from the tournament due to the Covid-19 pandemic and quarantine measures required by New Zealand’s authorities.

This gave Al-Duhail a ticket to the second round without breaking a sweat. Auckland cited tough coronavirus restrictions in their own country.  

Harambee Stars striker Michael Olunga. [Courtesy]

The team’s exit left six competitors representing global governing bodies of Uefa (Bayern Munich), AFC (Ulsan Hyundai), Concacaf (Tigres UANL), Caf (Al Ahly), Qatari league champions Al-Duhail along with a Conmebol representative that will be confirmed after the Copa Libertadores final.

Olunga will become the second Kenyan to feature at the Club World Cup after McDonald Mariga.

The former Kenyan international midfielder was part of the Inter Milan side that thrashed DR Congo’s TP Mazembe 3-0 in the final of the 2010 Fifa Club World.

Olunga recently signed for Duhail from Japan, where he had a stellar season with Kashiwa Reysol as he won the Golden Boot – after scoring 28 goals – and was also voted the most valuable player.

During the week he arrived in Qatar, Olunga made his Qatar Stars League debut in Al Duhail’s 3-1 loss to Al Sadd and he played for 67 minutes.

The 2020 FIFA Club World Cup was originally scheduled for December last year but postponed to February due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Semi-finals are slated for February 7, third-place playoff, and final on February 11.

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