QSL side Al Sadd took a major step in consolidating their top four status yesterday, defeating rivals Al Arabi 3-1 in a pulsating QSL tie at Lekhwiya stadium.
Two first-half goals from defenders Musab Khoder & Morteza Pouraliganji along with a breakaway second half strike from Qatari international captain Hassan Haydoos ensured that the Wolves grabbed all three points.
Al Sadd started the tie on the front foot, and created a host of key chances. However it was in the 20th minute that they found their breakthrough. Qatari U23 international Musab Khoder pounced on an Arabi midfield mistake, and his powerful run and shot found the bottom left corner of Rajab Hamza’s goal.
Al Sadd where in the ascendency and it didn’t take them long to register a second goal. This time it was the turn of January signing Morteza Pouraliganji to head in from a Xavi corner. The Iranian international’s well time run and header found the back of the net for a memorable first goal for his new side, the first half ended 2-0 to Al Sadd.  
Al Arabi found their way back into the tie on the 48th minute. Veteran midfielder Javad Nekounam took advantage of some lax Sadd defending, to hit a half volley shot past Sadd stopper Saad al-Sheeb. Al Arabi began to push for an equalizer, and could have had it if Boualem Khoukhi’s long distance shot had found the back of the net.
With Al Arabi pushing hard to get back into the tie, Sadd effectively finished off the match on the 74th minute thanks to a Hassan Haydoos tap in from close range. Sadd captain Xavi put through an inch perfect pass to substitute Hamza, and his deft no look pass found it’s way into the path of the Qatari international who slotted in from six yards out for his eighth goal of the season.
The buildup play and assist from Hamza was worthy of winning any tie, and Sadd coach Jesaldo Ferreria can rest a little easier now he has daylight between his side and the chasing pack for the top four places. The result leaves Al Sadd in fourth place, four points clear of fifth-placed Umm Salal.
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