By Sports Reporter/Doha
Ivorian striker Yannick Sagbo grabbed a brace as Umm Salal handed Lekhwiya their first defeat of the Qatar Stars League season, a 3-1 result that opened up the title race.
Sagbo struck early in the first half, before Lekhwiya equalised through Ismael Mohamed. However, Umm Salal pulled away thanks to a second half penalty from Sagbo before Syrian striker Mahmoud al-Mawas scored their third to confirm all three points under rain at Al Gharafa stadium.
Mahmoud Jaber’s side made a dream start, opening the scoring after the eighth minute. Al-Mawas charged down the flank, and chipped the ball towards Salem Khalifa, stationed near the penalty kick spot. But in a hurry to strike the ball, Khalifa missed his shot and the ball landed a Sagbo’s feet. With a clear shot at the goal, Sagbo calmly slotted the ball past goalkeeper Amine Lecomte, leaving Lekhwiya coach Djamel Belmadi fuming on the touchline.
With Qatar national coach Jorge Fossati watching from the stands, Ismael equalised for Lekhwiya in the 22nd minute. Lekhwiya’s Tunisian midfielder Youssef Msakni eased past his marker Ali Mohamed before slotting the ball towards teammate Ismael, who deflected the ball into the net from close range.
Sagbo gave Umm Salal the lead for the second time in the game in the 50th minute, this time off a penalty kick after a silly tackle on the Ivory Coast striker inside the Lekhwiya box. It was Sagbo’s 11th goal this season when he fired one into the net.
In the 61st minute, Umm Salal solidified their lead as al-Mawas scored Umm Salal’s third goal. Al-Mawas hoodwinked his marker Khaled Radwan inside the Lekhwiya box before calmly slotting the ball past goalkeeper Amin, who had left his goal line position to thwart the move.
The league leaders Lekhwiya tried in vain to get back into the clash but were denied time and again by a resilient Umm Salal back-line that was well marshalled by Brazilian defender Anderson Martins.
Sadd take on Arabi as title race hots up
By Sports Reporter/Doha
Al Sadd will be looking to go level with Lekhwiya at the top of the Qatar Stars League standings when they meet old rivals Al Arabi today evening.
Lekhwiya suffered their first defeat of the season at the hands of Umm Salal yesterday, and top the standings with 50 points.
However, Al Sadd will not have it easy against Al Arabi, who bounced back from a three-match winless streak with a 2-0 win of Al Gharafa in their last match.
“We are playing a derby match against Al Arabi, it will be a tough game for us,” Sadd coach Jesualdo Ferreira said at a pre-match press conference. “Al Arabi have had a tough season, but they can still cause us trouble. The side who commits the least number of mistakes will win. My side knows well that we must win to keep pressure on Lekhwiya.
“We have to fight till the very end in our matches in the league now. Even if we win all of our remaining games, we have to hope Lekhwiya drop points along the way.”
Arabi team boss Osvaldo Olivera, on the other hand, hailing his side’s efforts in the league last time out.
“The win against Al Gharafa was a confidence booster. I think that we are on the right track and that will aid our performances in the upcoming games in the league. We executed our game-plan well and took advantage of the space that Al Gharafa gave us in defence,” he said.
“We have many players off due to injury and suspension. So right now I don’t have a settled team. Having said that, we have been doing well in training and will be looking to cause an upset against Al Sadd.”
In another game with a 6:55pm kickoff, relegation-threatened Al Kharaitiyat will be targeting back-to-back wins in the game against El Jaish.
Al Kharaitiyat had beaten Al Sailiya 2-1 in their last game and another win will go a long way in pulling the Ahmad al-Ajlani’s team out of the drop zone.
“We are heading into the final games of the league, each match is important. We can’t afford to lose any points. The win last time out was good for the morale of the side. We must look to build on this positive result,” al-Ajlani said.
Sabri Lamouchi’s side are fourth in the standings, and registered their first win in last five matches, a 2-1 result against Al Shahania, last time out.
“Anwar Diba and Sanzhar Tursunov have changed Al Kharaitiyat and how they play. They are now fast on the counter attack and we will have to be ready for them on Thursday,” Lamouchi said.
In the first match of the day, champions Al Rayyan take on relegation-threatened Muaither.
Michael Laudrup, team boss of the third-placed Al Rayyan, said, “We have four games in eleven days coming up, so I will have to use my squad. I believe my side has the quality to cope with this schedule.”
Muaither coach Phillipe Birol said, “Twenty five points should be enough for survival. We need three wins in six games to be safe. Against Al Khor, we were losing 2-0, but we showed good spirit to come back and draw. It will be a big ask for us, but we believe we can do it.”
4:45pm Al Rayyan vs Muaither
6:55pm Al Sadd vs Al Arabi
6:55pm Al Kharaitiyat vs El Jaish
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