Al Wakrah’s Mahir Yousef (left) and Al Arabi’s Mosaab Mahmoud vie for the ball during the Qatar Stars League at Grand Hamad stadium in Doha yesterday. PICTURE: Noushad Thekkayil
By Sports Reporter/Doha
Gianfranco Zola’s Al Arabi earned a hard-fought 1-0 win to get their campaign off to a winning start against Al Wakrah at home.
Arabi welcomed Al Wakrah to the Grand Hamad as both sides played their first game of the new Qatar Stars League season. The Reds managed to bag all three points with a fortuitous own goal early on as they held on for the final whistle. Wakrah dominated the game from start to finish.
The only goal of the game came from an Arabi counter attack, when new signing Yousef Ahmed received Paulinho’ s clearance and showed his pace with a sprint down the left. Wakrah captain Ali Rehema managed to just keep up with the forward but his last ditch tackle saw the ball fly into his own net in the 43rd minute.
Al Wakrah Head Coach Jose Mauricio cut a frustrated figure on the side lines as it was clear to all that the visitors were playing the better football until the defensive error. After the restart Al Wakrah continued where they had left off, having a number of chances.
It looked as though things were turning in the Blue Waves favour when Iranian winger Ashkan Dejagah received a straight red card; however the replay showed that he made minimal contact with his opponent.
After this dubious decision Arabi’s chances were few and far between but the tireless Paulinho had a chance late on (89’) with his solo effort on goal. Al Arabi showed plenty of discipline to get the win but still look disjointed and lacking a philosophy of play.
Wakrah should not be too hard on themselves because despite the loss, they already look a better team under their new Uruguayan Head Coach.
Al Kharaitiyat upset Qatar SC
In another match, Al Kharaitiyat stunned Qatar SC 2-1 in their opening fixture of the Qatar Stars League yesterday. At Al Khor, Kharaitiyat shocked the much fancied Qatar SC, when the hosts took a 2-0 lead in the space of six minutes.
Burkina Fasso striker Yahia Kebe gave Kharaitiyat the lead in the 52nd minute. Then Qatari Mohammed Yasser made it 2-0 in the 57th minute to put his team in a strong position. Qatar SC hit back two minutes later with a goal from Ali Awad but were unable to find the equaliser.
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