January 27, 2018


With two berths left in the semifinals up for the taking, throngs of fans turned out yesterday at the Al Kass International Cup to cheer on their favorite clubs’ future stars.

The first match pitted Kashiwa Reysol against defending champions Real Madrid in what has become one of the tournament’s hallmark rivalries. This marked the third straight year the two teams have met in the knockout round, and the third time was a charm for Kashiwa, who pulled out a tense 3-1 win. The win delighted Kashiwa’s loyal fan base, which was out in full force, armed with songs, banners and costumes.

For fan Akio, attending her sixth Al Kass tournament, the Kashiwa win had special meaning. “It's great to have Kashiwa in the tournament, as they are from the Chiba prefecture, where my husband is from, so it makes it a special experience,” she said. “We are incredibly proud their performance in the tournament and hoping to see them clinch the title.”

Of course, in football one fan’s joy is another’s disappointment, and for Real Madrid’s own sizeable contingent of supporters, the loss was a bitter pill.

“I was so upset when Real Madrid lost today—I really thought they would make it further in the tournament,” said Spanish fan Alina. “It’s fun to be at Al Kass, there's a great atmosphere here. This tournament showcases Qatar to rest of the world, while giving expats a chance to support teams from their home countries.”