By Sports Reporter/Doha
Sadd extended their winning run to five matches and jumped to the top
of the standings while new boys Al Markhiya finally claimed their first
full points during an interesting day’s action in the QNB Stars League
Thirteen-times champions Al Sadd were in a class all their own as they saw off Al Arabi 3-1 in a match billed as the “Qatar Derby” a couple of hours after Al Markhiya had edged out Al Khor 1-0 for their first win of the tournament.
Al Markhiya’s upset victory over Al Sadd earlier in the event was overturned after it emerged they had fielded an ineligible player.
The prolific Baghdad Bounedjah gave Al Sadd the lead as early as in the fourth minute with a cracking shot from close after the entire Al Arabi defence, including goalkeeper Muhannad Naim, had left their positions in a moment of panic leaving the goal exposed.
Immediately afterwards, Al Sadd could have consolidated but Boualem Khoukhi fired into the side netting from point blank range
Al Arabi barely kept their wits about them during the first 30 minutes during which their defence was exposed threadbare by Al Sadd.
And sure enough Al Sadd extended their advantage with Qatar international Pedro Corriea blasting home from the top of the box in the 26th minute after receiving an excellent cross from Hassan al-Haydous.
Bounedjah thought he had his second goal a few minutes later but he was adjudged offside.
Al Arabi’s Khalfan Ibrahim produced some moments of brilliance to keep the Al Sadd defence on its toes but was unlucky not to score on at least a couple of occasions in the first half.
However, Diego Jardel gave Al Arabi some hope with a thundering shot from outside the box which the Al Sadd goalkeeper Saad al-Sheeb failed to stop properly, the ball trickling into the goal.
Bounedjah was shown the yellow card in the second goal after scoring again from an offside position and arguing with the referee in protest.
After al-Haydous and Jugurtha Hamroun had missed chances, substitute Ali Asadalla found the net in injury time to give Al Sadd an ultimately comfortable victory.
Newcomers Al Markhiya’s win came thanks to a second half goal by Nasser Ibrahim.
Ayman Mansour’s wards thus officially opened their account after their victory against Al Sadd in the first round was overturned for fielding an ineligible player.
Nasser beat Al Khor goalkeeper Baba Gibril, who replaced suspended first-choice custodian Amin Lecomte over his altercation with an Al Gharafa player in the previous round, hands down with a defence-splitting pass from Saleh al-Yahri to give Al Markhiya their first win.
Al Khor remained on four points. They had defeated Al Ahli and drawn with Al Kharaitiyat.
Al Khor made many desperate attempts towards the end, their livewire Madson leading the charge, but to no avail. Their best chance for an equaliser came in the 78th minute when Soroush Hussein’s shot went off the right upright.
Earlier, after Al Markhiya made some initial forays in the first half which failed to live up to expectations, with Kwame Karikari and Alain Traore at the helm, Al Khor took charge of the proceedings.
Still, the intensity was less. After Soroush Hossein and Madson sent their feeble shots straight to goalkeeper Mohammed Muntazar, defender Luciano Silva saw his header off a free-kick being saved by the rival custodian.
Much-experienced captain Medhat Mustafa held the Al Markhiya defence together.
Al Markhiya next face Al Kharaitiyat while Al Khor play Umm Salal.
Meanwhile, Al Rayyan left it late to secure a crucial victory over Al Sailiya, thanks to a goal from impressive Moroccan Abderrazzak Hamdellah.
In what turned out to be an entertaining game, it was the away side who dominated possession, with Al Sailiya content to sit back and attack on the counter.
Sebastian Soria was particularly lively throughout, having been unfortunate to convert on several occasions, thanks to fine goalkeeping from The Peregrines’ Abdrahman Aziz. Perhaps, the closest attempts of the first half fell to Al Sailiya’s in-from Brazilian maestro Wagner Ribeiro, who first forced a fine save from Al Rayyan’s goalkeeper before seeing his 30-yard effort strike the post moments later.
Al Sailiya did have the chance to break the deadlock in the second half as Abdulkholikov ran clear on goal. However, his attempted chip was thwarted by rival goalkeeper Omar Barry. After Soria was substituted, more focus was on Hamdellah to take the lead role.
After a couple of close attempts on goal, he got his reward in the 83rd minute after being felled in the penalty area amid protests from the home side. He stepped up and duly struck the ball into the roof of the opposition net. Some late pressure did come from Al Sailiya, but it was too late to make a real difference.
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