Sadd Sports Club - History - 2000–2010: New Century, New Possibilities

2000–2010: New Century, New Possibilities

The new millennium opened up a new era for Al Sadd. They returned to winning ways in the Qatari League, won many Emir Cups and Heir Apparent trophies. They also managed a triple crown in regional football by winning the Arab Champions League in 2001.

In the 2004 AFC Champions League, Al Sadd was tangled up in a controversy with Kuwaiti club Al Qadsiya, when they faced up against Al Qadsiya in a group stage match in Kuwait City in April 2004. It was a bad tempered encounter, which saw an Al Qadsiya player sent off, prior to the incident which subsequently ensued. During stoppage time, a huge fracas broke out between the players. In the chaos that followed, local security personnel came onto the pitch, but to the amazement of the fans, they appeared to attack some of the visiting Al Sadd players rather than trying to stop the fighting. After a 14-minute delay, the referee sent off a player from each side, but more sanctions were to follow, after an official investigation by AFC. The former president of AFC, Qatari national Mohammed Bin Hammam, described the whole event as a 'boxing match'.

Al Qadsiya, who had gone to the top of their group, were expelled from the Champions League, disqualified from all AFC competitions for three seasons, fined US$20,000 and had a blanket suspension imposed on all of its players and officials from AFC competitions for two years. On the other hand, Al Sadd were allowed to remain in the competition, but five of their players were handed two-year suspensions from all AFC tournaments. On further review, the punishments were reduced, although five Al Sadd players had to sit out of the AFC Champions League, the following year. The results of all of Al Qadsiya's matches in that season's competition were expunged from the official records, thus erasing their record against Al Sadd. Al Sadd, only demanding a single win over the bottom side, Al Quwa Al Jawiya, in their last group game to advance to the quarter-finals, lost the game 1–0.

Meanwhile, Al Sadd were involved in a controversial domestic match during a league game against Al Khor the same year. Al Khor took a 2–1 lead before half-time. In the 84th minute, Al Sadd pulled one back thanks to a penalty kick from Frank Leboeuf. By that time, 2 Al Khor players had received a red card in addition to 3 players from Al Sadd being sent off by Spanish referee Miguel Carlos. In injury time, with the score tied 2–2, Al Khor abandoned the match while there were 4 additional minutes remaining. This resulted in 3 more of their players being shown red cards. Al Sadd were later awarded a 3–0 technical victory by the QFA. Eight players were sent off in total.

They recorded the largest-ever win in the Sheikh Jassim Cup in 2006, when they defeated Muaither 21–0.

In 2007, under the command of Uruguayan coach Jorge Fossati, they achieved a quadruple by winning all four domestic cups. They were the first Qatari team to do so, and had also set a league record for the highest winning streak by winning 10 leagues games in a row. In addition, they made a record signing in Qatari football by paying $22M for Mauro Zárate the same year. In 2010, they were the second team to ever win the QNB Cup by defeating Umm Salal in the final.

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