By Sports Reporter/Doha
Baghdad Bounedjah struck deep into the stoppage time as Al Sadd pulled off a dramatic last-gasp 1-0 win over Qatar SC in the QNB Stars League at the Al Sadd Stadium yesterday. Sadd now have 44 points, two behind leaders Al Duhail and one less than second-placed Al Rayyan, with both the team in action today.
The Wolves thus kept their title hopes alive, even though remote. Sadd thus exacted a sweet revenge on Qatar SC, to whom they had suffered a shock 0-3 loss in the first leg. Qatar SC remained on 19 points and are still in the danger zone.
Sadd, who had registered a 1-0 victory over Al Duhail in the last round, dominated the proceedings but Qatar SC managed to restrict them from scoring almost until the stroke of final whistle.
Xavi Hernandez’s wards, without injured star forward Akram Afif, showed purpose right from the start, with Bounedjah leading the charge supported by Hassan al-Haydos as well as Nam Tae-Hee, and Jung Woo-Young pulling strings from the middle. Bounedjah tested Qatar SC goalkeeper Motasem Majed, standing in for injured first choice Jassim al-Hail, in the 15th minute. For Qatar SC, the duo of Sardor Rashidov and Kayke Rodriguez led the attacks.
Kayke’s shot was parried by Al Sadd goalkeeper Saad al-Dossari in the 39th minute and al-Haydous was off target as the first half ended goalless.
The stalemate continued till deep into stoppage time despite the efforts by Nam, Jung and Bounedjah. Finally, when the breakthrough came as an unmarked Bounedjah headed in a Rodrigo Tabata corner kick from the left, it turned out to be heartbreak for Qatar SC who also had much at stake, having been in the battle to avoid relegation.
Abuzraik strike sinks Arabi
Earlier, Mohamed Abuzraik scored the all-important goal in the 47th minute as Al Sailiya recorded a significant 1-0 victory over Al Arabi at the Al Janoub Stadium. Going into the match, both Al Sailiya and Al Arabi were level on points (25), but the latter were placed fifth on better goal difference.
Al Sailiya’s eighth victory, which was incidentally Al Arabi’s eighth defeat, took The Peregrines ahead even though they both were out of reckoning for the fourth place after Al Gharafa had ensured that position following the Week 20 results. Sailiya had secured a third-place finish last season, which was their best-ever performance in the league
Yesterday, Arabi created more chances, but could not help themselves from crashing to their second successive defeat. Sailiya had goalkeeper Amine Lecomte, on loan from league leaders Al Duhail, to thank specially, for his rich experience and expertise. Arabi sorely missed the services of Pierre-Michel Lasogga and his strike partner Hamdi Harbaoui had a rather subdued game. Sailiya’s Abdulqadir Ilyas and Arabi’s Abdulla Marafi had their goals ruled offside in the first half. Sailiya scored not long after the resumption through Abuzraik who, after receiving pass from Mohamed Mudather from the middle, brilliantly evaded the marking of Arabi defender Marc Martinez and sent in the ball past goalkeeper Mahmoud Abunada.
Lecomte drew all his experience to block a Hamdi free-kick in the 62nd minute and thwarted substitute Ibrahim Nasser Kalla as The Dream Team pushed hard to make a breakthrough. For Sailiya, Nadir Belhadj and Karim Ansari too made attempts at the goal, while Arabi had a penalty decision reversed at the fag end of the game. Also yesterday, Al Wakrah defeated Al Ahli 1-0 thanks to Cristian Ceballos’ penalty in the 74th minute. Ahli had to play with one man less half of the match as Ahmed Akaichi received his second yellow card and marching orders after he fouled Al Wakrah’s Ousmane Coulibaly in the 45th minute.
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