By Sports Reporter/Doha
Al Sailiya and Al Duhail played out a 2-2 draw, while Al Khor stunned reigning champions Al Gharafa 3-1 in the third round match at the Ooredoo Cup yesterday. In another Group B match, Qatar SC and Al Arabi were locked in a 1-1.
Duhail and Sailiya were both looking for their first victories in the campaign but could not find the winner. Serigne Mbodji (77th minute) and Meshaal al-Shammari (82nd-minute penalty) scored for Al Sailiya, while Paolo Edmilson (73rd minute) and Ahmed Yasser (88th minute) were on target for Al Duhail.
Sailiya thus opened their account, whereas QNB Stars League table toppers Duhail have two points. Duhail had lost big-time to Al Khor (0-7) in the previous round and had drawn 2-2 with Al Gharafa in the first round. The Red Knights too have yet to register a win.
Sailiya had lost 0-4 to Qatar SC in the opening round and then suffered a 1-2 defeat at the hands of Al Arabi. After a barren first half, where neither team made worthwhile attempts at the goal, the match came to life in the second session. It was Al Duhail who drew first blood, with Edmilson making an easy finish from close.
Sailiya replied when Mbodji headed in a corner kick taken by Bilal Saidani. The Peregrines went ahead when referee Gamal Hussain Omar awarded a penalty, which Meshaal converted with ease, after Al Duhail goalkeeper Amine Lecomte fouled Maher Yousef. Just when it looked Al Sailiya would snatch their first win came Ahmed Yasser’s equaliser in the form of an angular shot.
Meanwhile, Al Khor continued their good form thanks to a 3-1 victory over Al Gharafa. Al Khor’s goals were scored by Tiago Bezerra (45+2 and 58th minutes) and Helal Mohammed (89th minute), with Gharafa opening the scoring in the 36th minute through Abdulghani Muneer.
Al Khor moved on to seven points, while Gharafa remained on one point from three games following their second consecutive defeat. An early chance saw Ahmed Hammoudan fire just wide when through on goal, while Tiago came agonisingly close moments later when he fired a free-kick fractionally over the bar.
Gharafa grew into the game and were unfortunate not to score when Muneer forced a marvellous save from Baba Djibril. Their fortune changed later on in the half when Muneer stepped up with a crisp 25-yard free-kick which he whipped around the wall and into the far corner of the goal.
In spite of the setback, Al Khor responded well and levelled the scores deep into first-half injury time. Tiago leapt highest to meet a cross at the back post and firmly head home with goalkeeper Osama Kamel rooted to the spot.
The turnaround was completed midway through the second half when Tiago scored his second of the night with a beautifully-executed free-kick that left the goalkeeper with no chance as the ball flew to his left. Gharafa struggled to get back on level terms and the hammer blow was dealt late into the game when Helal curled in a left-footed free-kick from 25 yards to settle the score and confirm victory for The Knights.
In the third match of the day, Qatar SC and Al Arabi ended in draw. Kayke Rodriguez scored in the 55th minute as Qatar SC took the lead, which was neutralised by Al Arabi through Abdulla Marafy’s goal in the 83rd minute. Qatar SC now have seven points and Al Arabi five.
Possession was even in the first half. Al Arabi captain Mohamed Salem al-Hamed came closest to scoring, but his header off a corner went over. After a goalless first half, Al Arabi almost made a breakthrough seconds after the restart when Hossam Kamal’s cross from the right was cleared to safety by the Qatar SC defence from the goalmouth.
Qatar SC did surge ahead when Kayke, who scored their all three goals against Al Gharafa in the previous round, was on hand to place the ball home after Abdenasser Elkhayati crossed the ball from the left following a brilliant piece of dribbling. He managed to get the ball past goalkeeper Loukay Sherif and defender Marc Martinez and on to Kayke.
Al Arabi soon launched offensives. Hamdi Harbaoui’s long-range rising shot went straight to Qatar SC goalkeeper Mohamed Ghanem in the 58th minute and Marafy’s shot in the 67th minute was blocked by the keeper.
At the other end, Kayke struck a free-kick directly into the hands of Loukay. Arabi were rewarded for their efforts when Marafy fired in a rebound from goalkeeper after substitute Ibrahim Nasser first took the kick, with Birkir Bjarnasson doing the spadework.
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