By Sports Reporter/Doha
Al Ahli continued their mid-table resurgence in the Qatar Stars League by handing Al Rayyan a shock 2-0 defeat, while leaders Al Duhail also dropped points, drawing 1-1 with Al Sailiya as the QNB Stars League reached the halfway stage with the 11th round of matches yesterday.
Al Sadd, however, ensured they suffered no scare, thrashing Al Kharaitiyat 4-0 to move to second position from third in the standings as they press ahead with their bid to win the league title for the 14th time.
The day belonged to Al Ahli, though, as they continued from where they left off, having upset Al Sailiya last week. This time it was Michael Laudrup’s Lions who suffered at their hands as Mohamed Muntari (19) and Ali Ghaderi (39) struck for Al Ahli and successfully defended their 2-0 lead until the end of the game.
The defeat saw Al Rayyan drop to third from second position in the standings. They now have 25 points from 11 matches, while leaders Duhail have 29 and Al Sadd 27.
Spaniard Joaquin Capaross’ Al Ahli were on the front foot from the word go. After Muntari missed a sitter in the 10th, Sebastian Soria’s shot at the other end was blocked by Al Ahli goalkeeper Yazan Naim with his leg the very next minute.
With ace Moroccan striker Abderazzaq Hamdallah watching the proceedings from the sidelines, Rodrigo Tabata and Soria tried hard for a breakthrough, but Al Rayyan’s attack lacked bite. Hamdallah, a vital cog in The Lions’ machine, sat out as he is nursing a thigh muscle injury.
Christian Nazareth and Muntari led The Brigadiers’ offence. Their first goal came off a cross from the right by Yassine Chikhaaoui, who sprayed passes from the flank. Their second goal came through a dipping shot by Ali that flew over keeper Omar Barry.
Al Ahli slowed their pace in the second half even as the rivals pushed hard. Past one hour, Yazan thwarted Tabata with his leg.
Meanwhile, Youssef El Arabi put Al Duhail ahead in the 50th minute by converting a penalty kick. Al Sailiya, coached by Sami Trabelsi, managed to get the equaliser three minutes later through Wagner Ribeiro.
Ribeiro had fired the first salvo as he attempted a long-range curling shot that sailed past the Al Duhail goalmouth as early as the third minute.
El Arabi produced a snap-header from inside the Al Sailiya box, but his attempt soared above the crossbar a minute later. Al Duhail skipper Youssef Msakni then missed the target thrice.
After the half-hour mark, Al Duhail were reduced to 10 men when goalkeeper Khalifa Abubakr was shown the red card for handling the ball outside the box even as Al Sailiya’s Valentin Lazar was set to latch on to a loose ball. Khalifa’s departure gave way to substitute goalkeeper Mohammed al-Bakri, who replaced Abdullah al-Ahrak.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, Al Duhail opened the scoring through El Arabi. Al Sailiya did well to equalise through Ribeiro when the tireless Brazilian eased past a host of rival defenders before calmly slotting the ball past Al Bakri.
Al Sadd posted a commanding 4-0 win over Al Kharaitiyat for their ninth victory.
Pedro Miguel (40th minute), Hassan al-Haydous (52nd-min penalty and 81st) and Jugurtha Hamroun (77th) scored the goals.
It was Al Kharaitiyat who imposed authority on their seasoned rivals early on. Midfielder Anwar Diba flicked the ball towards the Al Sadd goalmouth from close in the seventh, but his low shot was tapped away by defender Pedro.
Al Sadd saw luck desert them when Ali Asad hit against the post and Hamroun could not convert the rebound in what turned out to be a double miss for The Wolves.
Pedro opened the floodgates, heading home a free-kick taken by Xavi Hernandez. The defender rose above his marker Abdrahman Abdallah and connected the ball well.
Early into the second half, Al Kharaitiyat’s Sanjar Tursunov fired a powerful shot from close range, but it was punched away by keeper Meshal Barshim.
Al Sadd doubled the lead as al-Haydous converted a penalty awarded after rival defender Soud Nasser handled the ball following a Musab Kedar shot.
Hamroun then struck powerfully into the top of Al Kharaitiyat net before al-Haydous rounded off the tally.
Al Sadd moved to 27 points, two behind toppers Al Duhail. They are now in second position. Al Kharaitiyat stayed on nine.
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