By Sports Reporter/Doha
Al Sadd had it easy against Al Ahli, winning 7-1, in Week 5 of the 2020-21 season QNB Stars League at the Al Ahli Stadium yesterday. In the later game, Al Duhail prevailed 2-1 over Al Rayyan.
Hashem Ali (fifth and 36th minutes), Rodrigo Tabata (13th), Akram Afif (30th), Santi Cazorla (45th), Nam Tae-hee (58th) and Ahmed Sayyar (90+1) scored for Al Sadd, who moved on to 13 points with their fourth win to top the table by surpassing Al Ahli.
Nabil El Zhar gave Al Ahli’s lone reply in the 54th minute.
The only time The Wolves dropped points was when they were held goalless by Al Khor in Week 4.
The result also broke Al Ahli’s all-win record that stretched to four matches. The Brigadiers remained on 12 points.
Al Sadd thus built on their 3-1 victory over strong title rivals Al Duhail in the midweek, in a match that was postponed from Week 3 due to both teams’ participation in the 2020 AFC Champions League.
Young Hashim, the only Under-23 player in Al Sadd’s starting XI, grabbed the opportunity with both hands by netting a brace.
Cazorla was again the livewire in Al Sadd ranks, pulling strings in the midfield with occasional forays into the goal, as they continued to miss striker Baghdad Bounedjah and goalkeeper Saad al-Dossari to injuries. And Meshaal Barsham rose to the occasion below the bar, while his Al Ahli counterpart Ivanildo Rodriguez had a harrowing time.
Akram too was in outstanding form as Al Sadd dominated possession, forcing Al Ahli to play the second fiddle.
Boualem Khoukhi was unlucky not to get into the scoring act as he hit his shot against the right upright.
Later at Al Gharafa Stadium, Eduardo Rodriguez (Dudu) and Ramin Rezaeian scored for holders Al Duhail in the 68th (penalty) and 90+3 minutes respectively to beat Al Rayyan 2-1. Al Rayyan had taken the lead through Yacine Brahimi in the 42nd minute.
Al Duhail raised their points tally to nine and Al Rayyan stood on seven after five rounds of action.
The highlight match of Week 5 between last season’s champions and runners-up, both strong title contenders, lived up to its billing. Possession was almost even and both sides created opportunities galore.
Al Duhail produced an improved performance in the second half as they fought back from a first-half deficit to win by a last-gasp goal, which came off a free-kick.
The Red Knights could not have afforded defeat after losing their postponed match from Week 3 to Al Sadd in the midweek by a 1-3 margin. Dudu, Yousef Msakni and Almoez Ali led their charge.
Al Rayyan had an upper hand in the opening session and a quick move towards the end of the half saw them surge ahead, with Brahimi applying the finishing touch to a pass from Yohan Boli, giving goalkeeper Mohamed al-Bakri no chance.
Al Rayyan’s Abdulaziz Hatem sent his shot wide, Gabriel Mercado headed the ball wide of the target and Naif al-Hadhrami’s rising shot hit the underneath of the horizontal and the ball came back to play.
Meanwhile, Dudu’s grounder was neatly collected by Al Rayyan goalkeeper Fahad Younis and Abdulrahman Mohamed’s shot crashed against the horizontal.
Changing ends, Brahimi continued to lead Al Rayyan’s challenge, but Al Duhail’s persistent efforts bore fruit as Dudu converted a penalty awarded when Dame Traore fouled substitute Mohamed Muntari.
The free-kick that resulted in Al Duhail’s winner came after Ahmed Abdel Maqsoud tripped Msakni and Ramin sent in a measured one even though the goalkeeper got his hand on to the ball.
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