By Sports Reporter/Doha
Al Ahli blanked Al Sailiya 2-0 to stay on top of the QNB Stars League. This was their fourth successive win as they continued their dream start to the campaign.
Hernan Perez (2nd minute) and Abdulrasheed Umaru (57th minute) scored for Ahli, who raised their points tally to 12 with an all-win record to be the only team to do so thus far in this season’s league competition. Al Sailiya stood on four points from as many games.
Perez was the architect of The Brigadiers’ brilliant show as he gave assist for Umaru’s goal as well. Ahli opened the scoring so early in the game and Al Sailiya in fact never recovered from the shock. Nothing went The Peregrines’ way as the reinforced squad this season, consisting of new recruits Tiago Bezerra, Mohanad Ali and Ahmed Hammoudan, struggled to find a footing. Both goals resulted from defensive mistakes.
Perez scored as he pounced on a minus pass by Al Sailiya captain Majdi Siddiq to teammate Ghanem al-Qahtani, who failed to receive the ball before the Paraguayan took control and placed it in past goalkeeper Amine Lecomte.
Perez and Nabil El Zhar led Al Ahli’s charge and the latter sent a ground shot wide. So was Umaru in the first half while, at the other end, Mohanad sent a shot over the bar. Changing ends, Tiago sent a free-kick wide before Umaru found the target, with Perez providing him with a cross from the right.
Al Ahli’s Hazem Shehata made two serious attempts at the goal. The first time, he was unlucky to have missed the mark in the 72nd minute and then Lecomte thwarted him in the 86th minute. He scored the next minute, but the goal was disallowed for offside. Al Sailiya could have reduced the margin in stoppage time, had Hammoudan’s header gone in.
Later, Al Gharafa defeated Al Kharaitiyat by two second-half goals to stay second in the standings. Koo Ja-Cheol (67th minute) and Jonathan Kodjia (85th minute) scored the goals for Al Gharafa, who now have nine points. The Cheetahs had earlier beaten Qatar SC 2-0 and Al Arabi 2-1, but lost 1-3 to Al Rayyan. Al Kharaitiyat remained on three points. The Thunders beat Qatar SC 2-1, but suffered defeat against Al Sadd (1-5) and Al Sailiya (0-2) too.
Ball possession was almost even in the match, where Al Gharafa had an upper hand in terms of the number of chances created. They made good use of the wings, especially in the second half, and were rewarded with the goals.
The barren first half saw chances for either side. Kodjia, Ahmed Alaaeldin, Hanni and Homam El Amin of Al Gharafa, and Evans Mensah and Rachid Tiberkanine of Al Kharaitiyat were off-target. The breakthrough came when Koo rose above the rival markers to head in a corner kick taken by Sofiane Hanni. Kodjia made it 2-0 towards the end by applying a first-time shot to Alaaeldin cross. Kodjia and Hanni combined only to see the latter miss the target by a whisker. It was a repeat clash of 2020-21 Ooredoo Cup Round 3 match between the teams played on 14th October. Al Gharafa defeated Al Kharaitiyat 3-1.
Arabi face Umm Salal in clash of bottom placed teams
In today’s matches, Al Arabi face Umm Salal, while Al Rayyan take on Al Wakrah. Arabi are languishing at the 11th place with just one point after three weeks of action - a stark contrast compared to their superb start in the previous season’s league competition, where they were in the top four for long, even occupying the second spot.
Umm Salal are at the rock bottom of the table with only one point that they earned from their goalless draw with Al Khor in Week 2.
Al Rayyan, who are in fifth place, face Al Wakrah. Rayyan were held 1-1 by Al Sailiya in their opener, but put that behind them by defeating Al Gharafa 3-1. However, The Lions, coached by Uruguayan Diego Aguirre, lost 0-1 to Qatar SC in Week 3 after which the QNB Stars League took a break.
Wakrah had made headlines by handing a shock 1-0 defeat to defending champions Al Duhail in Week 2. The Blue Wave, under Spaniard Marquez Lopez, thus got their campaign on track after losing 1-2 to Al Ahli in their opener. They are now placed third with three points. Wakrah had done well last season by finishing in the sixth position.
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