By Sports Reporter Doha
Coach Belmadi had appeared wary of Kharaitiyat in his press conference ahead of the game, but his men proved his fears were baseless as they rarely looked in trouble in front of their home fans
Moroccan Yousef El Arabi recorded a hat-trick as Al Duhail Sports Club scored their biggest win of the QNB Stars League season, dominating Al Kharaitiyat for an 8-2 rout on a day which saw the “Big Three” sail past their rivals comfortably.
Their seventh win in eight matches helped them maintain their slender one-point lead over Al Sadd although they are way ahead on goal difference (33-21), which will stand them in good stead if the title race goes down to the wire.
Coach Djamel Belmadi had appeared wary of Al Kharaitiyat in his press conference ahead of the game, but his men proved his fears were baseless as they rarely looked in trouble in front of their home fans.
El Arabi, the most prolific scorer in Qatar, struck in the 18th, 31st and 87th minutes, while captain Youssef Msakni (8th and 85th) and Nam Tae-Hee (83rd and 90th) also recorded a double each.
Moaaz Ali Abdalla (39th) was their other scorer. El Arabi and Msakni took their personal tally to 15 and eight goals respectively this season.
Rachid Tiberkanine netted both goals for Al Kharaitiyat’s, in the 48th and 54th. The first was a solo effort following a long run and the second came off a cross from Sanjar Tursunov.
Al Duhail wasted little time to settle down in the fast-paced match. Ever since Msakni opened their account, it was a matter of time before El Arabi got into the scoring act. After his second came off a flick from close, it was the turn of Moaaz Ali to net the team’s fourth.
Al Duhail scored four more goals in the last seven minutes to complete their majestic win.
Al Duhail, who increased their tally to 22 points, are up against Al Sadd in a high-voltage encounter next, while Al Kharaitiyat play host to Al Ahli.
Earlier, Al Sadd picked up three points following a fighting 4-1 win over Umm Salal; the Wolves’ seventh taking their points tally to 21. Playing on their home ground, Al Sadd were in deficit as early as the ninth minute through Jugurtha Hamroun’s own goal. The Algerian midfielder, in an attempt to clear the ball with a header, ended up deflecting it into his own net after being chased by Umm Salal’s Omar Yahya.
However, goals by captain Xavi Hernandez (39th), striker Baghdad Bounedjah (52th-min penalty) and Morteza Mohamed (84th) lifted their spirits.
Umm Salal goalkeeper Basel Zaidan unfortunately got on the scoresheet following an own goal a minute before the final whistle.
Xavi curled in a David Backham-style free-kick into the Umm Salal net to restore parity. It was the Spaniard’s third goal of the season.
Then, it was the turn of Bounedjah to easily convert from the spot to make it 2-1.
Al Rayyan also had it easy against hosts Al Arabi, winning 4-2.The Lions increased their tally to 21 points, but slipped to third place in the standings as Al Sadd, who defeated Umm Salal 4-1 in early kick-off, pipped them on goal difference.
Sebastian Soria (seventh minute), Rodrigo Tabata (32nd-min penalty), Abderrazaq Hamdallah (59th) and Gonzalo Viera (73rd) scored for Al Rayyan.
Defender Saad Natiq struck both of Al Arabi’s goals (71st and 85th), both through identical headers. The scoreline was not a fair reflection of Al Rayyan’s domination in front of 2,336 spectators and it would have swelled had they converted more chances that came their way.
In Croatian coach Luka Bonacic’s first match in charge, Al Arabi started without injured attacking midfielder Khalfan Ibrahim and they sorely missed him. To add to their woes, Syrian spearhead Mardik Mardikian went off the field injured halfway through the opening session and was replaced by Yousef Ahmed.
Bonacic had said before the game that he did not get time to make any tactical change in the team’s game, but his priority for this match was instilling confidence in the players. However, their confidence did not seem to have been boosted and they lost the plot after Al Rayyan scored a second time.
Play was mostly restricted to the Al Arabi area in the first half and Soria and Hamdallah took shots at will, with Tabata being the livewire in the midfield. Soria promptly gave Al Rayyan the advantage and Rodrigo Tabata doubled it by converting a penalty awarded after Al Arabi’s Gaser Zakaria tripped Soria inside the box.
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