By Sports Reporter Doha
Hassan al-Haydos scored the all-important goal as Al Sadd edged past Al Ahli 1-0 in the QNB Stars League at the Al Janoub Stadium yesterday.
The midfielder struck in the 43rd minute as the reigning champions Sadd moved on to 38 points, eight adrift of leaders Al Duhail, who beat Al Gharafa 2-0 on Sunday. Xavi Hernandez’s men stay third in the table, four points four less than second-placed Al Rayyan, who drew goalless with Al Arabi on Saturday.
Al Sadd had beaten Al Ahli 2-1 in the first leg, but the return encounter was far from easy for them.
Head coach Xavi was back on the touchline after recovering from coronavirus. The Spaniard had missed out on Sadd’s 2-1 win over Al Khor in the previous match.
Sadd dominated the proceedings and created more chances than Al Ahli. Baghdad Bounedjah was thwarted by Al Ahli goalkeeper Ivanildo Rodrigues as early as the fourth minute, while Al Ahli’s Hernan Perez had a goal disallowed for offside in the 12th minute.
Even though al-Haydos shot over the bar in the 25th minute, the Qatar national team captain was not to be denied late into the first half as he was assisted by Hashim Ali in what turned out to be the winning goal. Sadd’s Jung Woo-young then had his free-kick blocked by the goalkeeper.
Both teams had opportunities in the second half, but Sadd hung on to win. New recruit Rodrigo Tabata came in for al-Haydos as Abdulaziz al-Ansari’s shot was blocked by Ivanildo, whereas Hernan missed a chance in the 65th minute after being blocked by goalkeeper Saad al-Dossari and sent a shot wide of the target late on.
In another match, Qatar SC and Umm Salal played out a 1-1 draw at the Al Sadd Stadium. Kayke Rodrigues put Qatar SC ahead in the 52nd minute, while Fahad Khalfan scored for Umm Salal in the 72nd minute through a penalty. Qatar SC and Umm Salal now have 18 and 16 points respectively. Both teams are not completely out of the danger zone, so the point earned will help them in their bid to stay in the first division.
Umm Salal’s performance has been on the rise ever since Moroccan Aziz Ben Askar, himself their former defender, took charge of the side from Spaniard Raul Caneda this season. The Orange Fortress had lost many points in the first leg, leaving themselves in dire straits. The latest display by Ben Askar’s wards is also commendable, given that they had lost to Qatar SC by a 0-5 margin in the first leg. Umm Salal had slightly more of the ball in a barren first half, but Qatar SC had a bit more advantage in the second.
In the opening session, Qatar SC’s Abdenasser El Khayati’s attempt at the goal was blocked by goalkeeper Baba Malick, who also parried Sardor Rashidov’s long-range effort. At the other end, Umm Salal’s Raul Bezerra could not connect the ball ahead of the goalkeeper.
Qatar SC, who have also improved under former Qatar international midfielder Wesam Rizik, went ahead through Kayke, who was assisted by Rashidov in scoring.
The equaliser came when Qatar SC’s Abdulaziz Adel brought down Ayyoub Azzi and Fahad Khalfan converted the resultant penalty.
Malick thwarted Rashidov on yet another occasion, in the last minute of regular time, as the deadlock remained.
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