Holders Al Sadd maintained their winning streak by defeating Al Markhiya 1-0 in the QNB Stars League match at the Al Sadd Stadium yesterday.
Striker Baghdad Bounedjah scored the winner for Al Sadd in the 12th minute of the match.
It was another positive result for The Wolves, who after being strengthened by the return of their top stars are continuing their winning march and upward climb in the rankings table.
The defending champions are now on 16 points, while Al Markhiya remained on nine points. Al Sadd struck early with a fine goal following a free-wheeling action when Rodrigo Tabata set the ball through for Musaab Khedir to send in a cross to Bounedjah in the centre to run the ball into an open net as the goalkeeper had rushed out to the left.
But for being beaten at that, Al Markhiya’s goalkeeper Loukay Sherif Ashour did a good job for his team throughout the match holding on to several solid attempts from Al Sadd. One of glorious chances for Al Sadd came in the 59th minute when their mercurial forward Akram Afif sent in a curling kick from top left of the box, but the ball went on to hit the far right post. On the rebound, Musaab took a kick, but goalkeeper Ashour dived to stave away the danger.
Soon in the 63rd minute, Bounedjah had another chance of doubling the lead when put through with a fine ball, but he failed to beat goalkeeper Ashour.
Al Sadd kept Al Markhiya on their toes with several attacking moves. In the 73rd minute, Afif provided Santi Cazorla with a good pass, but the Spaniard also failed to beat the goalkeeper.
Earlier in the opening half, Al Sadd were successful in scoring in the 28th minute as Pedro Miguel struck, but he was ruled off-side.
Al Sadd had two off-sides in the match, with their players being eager to latch on to the ball.
Al Markhiya, who did a superb job defending, also had their chances and a great one in the 79th minute when Aymen Hussein headed off a long ball, but an alert Al Sadd goalkeeper Saad al-Sheeb foiled their hopes.

Al Gharafa beat Al Sailiya
Al Gharafa bounced back from an early deficit to beat Al Sailiya 2-1 at the Al Ahli Stadium.
After Moroccan professional Ismail Khafi took Al Sailiya ahead in the 10th minute, Al Gharafa struck back through goals from Mehdi Tahrat (46th minute) and Farid Boulaya (78th minute).
With this victory, Al Gharafa moved on to 16 points and thus put an end to a series of negative results. It was The Cheetahs’ first victory under Portuguese coach Pedro Martins.
Al Sailiya remained on four points in the last place after suffering their ninth defeat.
At the start, Al Sailiya went with all force in search of a victory that would put them back on the right track at the start of second leg of the league. Their new professional player Khafi indeed succeeded in helping them take the lead after a long ball played by goalkeeper Abdulrahman Mohamed.
After snatching the ball from Mohamed Ali who fell, the Al Sailiya striker found the net. The second half too witnessed dangerous moves, especially by Al Gharafa who pressed hard through the flanks and penetrated from the depths to score the equalizer.
Mehdi scored following a ball played by Yacine Brahimi. In the 63rd minute, Ishak Belfodil missed an opportunity to score off a perfect cross by Brahimi.
Al Gharafa players continued to miss opportunities and this time it was Ahmed Alaaeldin, who was denied by the post in the 68th minute after he dodged three defenders inside the penalty area and hit the ball.
Brahimi kept making attempts at the goal and one such move paid off for Al Gharafa. The Algerian passed the ball inside the penalty area to Moayad Hassan who, in turn, set up Boulaya who fired it in.
In the third match of the day, Al Ahli defeated Umm Salal 3-1.
Meanwhile, Al Duhail coach Hernan Crespo spoke to the media ahead of their match against Al Wakrah.
“Our preparations for the match went off normally and we know that we will face a very dangerous team that has managed to score many victories and are one of the top teams. But I am very confident in the team’s abilities to present what is required on the pitch.
“Since the start of the season, we have not entered any match with full ranks and we always suffer from injuries and absences. Now, defender Semedo will be missed due to injury and I am happy that there are players who can compensate for the absences,” said Crespo.
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