Al Gharafa defeated Al Rayyan 4-2 in a thrilling QNB Stars League match at the Al Gharafa Stadium yesterday.
Al Gharafa secured a massive three points, thanks to a hat-trick from debutant Jonathan Kodija.
Sofiane Hanni opened the scoring in the 24th minute through a penalty, with Kodjia netting in the 65th (penalty), 66th and 86th minutes. Al Rayyan had earlier taken the lead with goals from debutant Yohan Boli (27th minute) and Sebastian Soria (62nd minute).
There was great anticipation prior to the match as two giants of the QNB Stars League went head-to-head for vital points. A thoroughly-entertaining encounter started in dramatic fashion when Sofiane’s whipped corner nearly found its way in at the near post, but Fahad Younis was equal to it. Fahad was involved again not long after when he brought down Muad Hassan in the penalty area and the referee pointed to the spot. Sofiane stepped up to plant the ball into the bottom corner and give his side an early lead.
Al Rayyan were in no mood to bow down and quickly got back on level terms when Mowafak Adam’s sumptuous pass was met by Boli, who slotted home from close range.
The second half continued at a lively pace and Al Rayyan got themselves into the lead when Yacine Brahimi, running down the left flank, curled in a resplendent cross with the outside of his right boot which was met by Soria at the back post to finish the job.
From here on out, it became the Kodjia show. The former Aston Villa marksman had been involved throughout and he levelled from the penalty spot when Lee Jae-Ik upended Ahmed Alaaeldin in the area.
Within a minute, the Ivorian had given his side the advantage as Al Rayyan were dispossessed from the kick-off and Adlane Guedioura fed Kodjia with a delightful through ball which he dispatched with great style.
The hat-trick (and game) was complete when Alaaeldin slotted through to Kodjia, who teed up the ball before acrobatically striking into the net with great venom to make it 4-2.
The plaudits will rightly go to Kodjia on his debut, but this was very much a team performance, with Al Gharafa now moving one point behind third-placed Al Sadd on 23 points. Defeat for Al Rayyan meant they remained in second place on 28 points.
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