By Sports Reporter/Doha
Second placed Al Sadd lost their first game of the QSL season, losing 1-2 to league leaders Lekhwiya in a closely fought QSL encounter at the Al Sadd stadium yesterday.
Lekhwiya captain Mohamed Musa scored the winner with two minutes left to play in the game.
Prior to this, both sides cancelled each other out with Nam Tae Hee and Ali Afif scoring for Lekhwiya and Al Sadd respectively, whilst Lekhwiya midfielder Luis Martin was sent off on the 85th minute.
The game began at a fast pace. Just seven minutes in, a free kick from Xavi was whipped into the box, the ball fell to Abdulkarim Hassan and his powerful shot was well saved by Lekhwiya keeper Claude Amine. As expected, the tie was a tight affair, with plenty of crunching tackles in midfield as both sides looked to assert themselves in the early exchanges.
Lekhwiya took the lead thanks entirely to the hard running of young attacker Moez Ali. Chasing a forward ball, the Qatar youth international showed an impressive turn of pace to beat Sadd defender Morteza Pouraliganji, drive into the penalty area and pick out Nam Tae Hee who calmly slotted in the opening goal of the tie in the 17th minute.
Al Sadd rallied after the goal and began to enjoy more possession as the half progressed. In the 26th minute, Jesaldo Ferriera’s side drew level thanks to midfielder Ali Asad. Xavi curled in a ball high into box which was not properly dealt with by the Lekhwiya defence. In the ensuring scramble the ball fell to Asad who smashed the ball home from close range.
Five minutes left in the first half and Ali Asad missed a vital chance to double his tally and give Al Sadd a lead heading into the half-time break. On a counter attack, the ball fell perfectly to the Qatar international with an open goal at his mercy but he could only smash his shot well over the bar, much to the frustration of his teammates. Both sides went into the break level at 1-1.
The home side started the second half on the front foot. On the 53rd minute, Sadd came closest to taking a lead when a free-kick from Xavi was headed off the line by compatriot Chico Flores as Sadd upped the pressure on their table-topping rivals. Likewise, Lekhwiya looked to break the deadlock when Ismael Mohamed held the ball up well and passed to midfielder Karim Boudiaf whose shot etched just wide.
As the second half progressed, both sides seemed to cancel each other out in both defence and attack. Ferriera gambled on the 70th minute of the tie, introducing Sami Kasola and young striker Meshaal al-Shammeri into the match, looking to swing the tie in favour of the home side.
Lekhwiya keeper Claude Lacome was called upon to deny Xavi again, with the Qatar international stopper producing a good save to tip over the Spaniard’s free-kick. Up at the other end of the pitch, Lekhwiya midfielder Ali Afif saw his shot fly just wide.
Lekhwiya were also reduced to 10 men on the 85th minute when midfielder Luis Martin was shown his second yellow card for a rash challenge.
With 88 minutes on the clock, the 10 men of Lekhwiya scored a winner through their captain Musa. Nam Tae Hee knocked in a corner, which landed on the head of Chico Flores which fell near the back post. Musa was on the quickest to react and duly planted the ball into the back of the net, much to the joy of coach Djamel Belmadi.
The win means Lekhwiya maintain their undefeated streak in the league, and now have opened up a five-point gap at the top of the QSL standings.
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