Al Sadd forwards Mamadou Niang and Keita Abdul Kader will be eligible for the AFC Champions League final, football chiefs said today, after they escaped further bans for their part in the brawl which marred their semi-final first leg. They were initially suspended for one match for their roles in the fight against Korea Republic's Suwon Bluewings, but were left to sweat on the ruling by Asia's football body.
The pair served their suspensions in last week's second-leg, the Asian Football Confederation said after a disciplinary committee ruling, making them free for selection for Saturday's final. The AFC however handed six-match bans to Suwon player Ristikj Stevica and coach Ko Jung So, and Al Sadd's goalkeeping coach Suhail Saber Ali for their roles in the 19 October scrap which forced the match to be temporarily stopped. The Qatari side eventually won the game 2-0 and progressed to the final after a 2-1 aggregate victory.
Their opponents on Saturday are South Korean side Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, who will be without skipper Cho Sunghwan and striker Lovrek Kruno after the AFC bosses ruled them out of the final for offences in their second-leg tie. The 29-year-old Cho was given a yellow card in Jeonbuk's game against Saudi side Al Ittihad, his second of the knock-out rounds, while Kruno received a second yellow late on.
"I was telling myself that I had to take care and not get one more yellow card but it was an unavoidable situation," Cho told Korean media, referring to his booking just 12 minutes into the clash at Jeonju World Cup Stadium. "It is really sad that I cannot play in the final but there are so many good players in our team I am not worried about the match."
Jeonbuk went through with a 2-1 victory over Al Ittihad in the second leg, to make it a 5-3 aggregate win.