Kenya: Michael Olunga Ends Qatar Season On a High

Kenya's Michael Olunga scored his 19th goal of his half-season with Al Duhail but could not prevent the side from ending the 2020/21 season without a trophy after losing 2-1 to Al Rayyan in Amir Cup semi-final on Monday night.

The 27-year-old star striker joined Al Duhail on January 12 from Kashiwa Reysol, with the Qatari giants still in contention for Qatar Stars League, Qatar Cup, Amir Cup, Fifa Club World Cup, and Asian Champions League.

He arrived at Al Duhail just eight days after the Japan Professional Football League concluded. He had guided Kashiwa to seventh place finish on his way to bagging the Golden Boot and Player of the Year awards after netting 28 times.

"The Engineer" did not score in his first two matches in Qatar against Al Sadd and Qatar SC, but got going with a hat-trick in 6-0 demolition of Al Ahli Doha in the round of 16 of Amir Cup on January 25.

Then, Coach Sabri Lamouchi's Al Duhail suffered a quarter-final exit in Club World Cup which they hosted falling 1-0 at the hands of Africa giants Al Ahly from Egypt on February 4.

Al Duhail went on to beat Asian Champions League holders Ulsan Hyundai from South Korea 3-1 on February 7 to finish the global showpiece in fifth place as European heavyweights Bayern Munich clinched the crown after defeating Mexican side UANL Tigres 1-0.

Al Duhail suffered another blow as Al Sadd whipped them 2-0 in Qatar Cup final on February 26.

Xavi Hernandez-coached Al Sadd dethroned Al Duhail in the 12-team league after amassing 60 points and bagging the title unbeaten as Al Duhail finished 13 points behind in second place.

Despite shining and leading in the scoring charts with eight goals, Olunga saw his side eliminated from the 2021 Asian Champions League at the group stage. He had scored in every Group "C" match held from April 15-30 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia where they faced hosts Al Ahli Saudi, Iranian side Esteghlal and Al Shorta (Iraq).

Esteghlal progressed to the knockout phase as Al Duhail were eliminated.

Olunga's last hope of silverware in his first season in Qatar went up in smoke after Al Duhail crashed out of Amir Cup at the expense of Al Rayyan. Dame Traore put Al Rayyan ahead in the 13th minute before Yacine Brahimi added a penalty just before the hour mark.

Olunga reduced the deficit in the 81st minute from an assist from Khaled Mohammed, but it was too late.

Al Duhail's attempt to get back into the game suffered a blow after Almoez Ali was red-carded in injury time.

Lamouchi was disappointed with the performance against Al Rayyan. "I am disappointed with this bad result against Al Rayyan. Although we succeeded in creating many opportunities, Al Rayyan succeeded in scoring first... . Al Rayyan succeeded in providing a good match in front of us today, but the team could have come back if we had improved on our focus and took advantage of the opportunities created.

Refereeing was good and there were no wrong decisions, but the problem was in our team. We did not provide the performance required from us in the stadium and we did not succeed in taking advantage of the opportunities that we created and wasted the opportunity to qualify for the final match," said Lamouchi.

"I came only six months ago, but I know that the results that we achieved were not good and not satisfactory, either for the management of the team or for the fans," he added.

In total, Olunga played 22 matches for his new employers.

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