Al Sailiya defeated Al Gharafa 2-0 in their QNB Stars League match at the Al Ahli Stadium yesterday.
Nadir Belhadj (third minute) and Mohamed Mudather (35th minute) scored for Al Sailiya, who took their tally to 23 points. It was also The Peregrines’
Al Sailiya thus extended their domination over Al Gharafa this season, having beaten The Cheetahs 3-1 in the first leg of 2019-20 QNB Stars League.
Al Gharafa stood on 25 points after suffering their fifth defeat. It was an unimpressive display by a side that started off the season well and occupied a position in the top four for long.
Belhadj’s individual brilliance was writ large on the first goal as he produced a skilful run down the middle before rattling the net with a long-ranger. Al Sailiya doubled the lead, with Belhadj giving the cross for Mudather to shoot home after Al Gharafa’s Hector Moreno failed to clear the ball.
Al Gharafa were unlucky to have a goal disallowed for offside when Adlene Guediora scored off a pass from Hanni, who found himself offside. Hanni then spurned an easy chance on 40 minutes as he sent his shot over the bar from close range.
Both teams continued to play an open game. Not long after the second half started, Al Gharafa goalkeeper Qasim Burhan had to effect a a diving save to thwart Serigne Mbodji’s header.
Injured Burhan was later replaced by Mohamed Muntazar even as Al Gharafa found the going tough and the scoreline remained unchanged.
The victory gave Al Sailiya a great relief as they were going through a lean patch in the second leg, losing in Weeks 12, 13 and 14, to Al Khor, Al Ahli and Al Sadd respectively.
They had also lost their 2020 AFC Champions League play-off to Iran’s Shahr Kodro, thus failing to book a berth in the tournament proper.
However, Al Sailiya had bounced back with a 1-0 win over Qatar SC in Week 15.
The loss compounded Al Gharafa’s woes as they had exited from two cup tournaments in consecutive weeks recently, bowing out of Amir Cup in the pre-quarter-final stage and Ooredoo Cup in the quarter-final stage despite being the two-time defending champions.
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