Kuwait City: Tunisian striker Issam Jemaa sealed the AFC Cup top goalscorer award with his 16th goal of the campaign in Saturday’s final as Kuwait Sports Club retained the title with a 2-0 win over fellow Kuwait Premier League side Al Qadsia.
Jemaa turned home Rogerinho’s pass four minutes after the hour mark at Peace & Friendship Stadium after the Brazilian had opened the scoring seven minutes into the second half.
Kitchee striker Jordi Tarres netted 12 goals in nine games for the Hong Kong side to finish second behind Jemaa after the Spaniard impressively scored in every game in the AFC Cup this season.
Semen Padang’s Liberian striker Edward Junior Wilson netted 10 goals in eight games to complete the top three, with Al Qadsia’s Bader Al Motawaa fourth with nine overall having missed the final due to injury.
“It’s a great title for me and in my career but the most important thing is that we managed to defend our title and to win the AFC Cup for the second consecutive year,” said 29-year-old Jemaa.
“Being the top scorer of the competition is something good, but it wouldn’t have come without the efforts of my team-mates. I would like to thank them as well for their efforts.”
Jemaa averaged a goal a game during the group stage as Kuwait SC topped Group A after the Tunisian striker netted six goals in three games against Tajikistan’s Regar-Tadaz and Bahrain’s Al Riffa.
The 29-year-old failed to score as Kuwait SC edged out Iraq’s Duhok on penalties in the Round of 16, but Jemaa made amends against New Radiant from the Maldives in the quarter-finals with seven goals over the two legs.
Jemaa scored four goals in the opening 45 minutes of the first leg in Male as Kuwait SC eased to a 7-2 win before adding another first half hat-trick in the return fixture as the home side won 5-0 to complete a 12-2 aggregate victory.
His first half double then secured Kuwait SC a 4-2 semi-final first leg win over India’s East Bengal before watching from the bench in the return fixture as the visitors posted 3-0 victory to advance to the final following a 7-2 aggregate success.
And he had been kept quiet for the first half of the final until four minutes after the hour mark as Rogerinho dispossessed Al Qadsia defender Khaled Al Qahtani on the edge of the penalty area following a hopeful ball forward, and after charging towards goal, the Brazilian squared the ball for Jemaa to fire high into the net from just outside the six yard area.
“At the end of the day, football is a team sport and without the rest of the players, I wouldn’t have scored these goals. We are all one family and we all work for the benefit of our team,” added Jemaa.
“I would like to give tribute to my family who were always there for me and for my team-mates for their hard work.
“In addition, to the fans who supported us in the competition and hopefully we can continue winning more titles in the future.”
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