By Sports Reporter/Doha
Qatar SC held holders Al Duhail to a 1-1 draw in the QNB Stars League yesterday. Elmehdi Barrahma had put Qatar SC ahead with a 21st-minute penalty, while Paulo Edmilson Junior equalised for Al Duhail in the 51st minute.
The result was another blow to second-placed Al Duhail (28 points) who lag behind leaders Al Sadd by 10 points, as the latter play Al Khor today. Qatar SC stay in fourth place with 24 points.
Al Duhail dominated the early exchanges, but Qatar SC soon settled into their stride. As a result, the highlight match of the week, pitting strong opponents against each other, lived up to its billing. Qatar SC made their intentions clear and Anthony Okpotu’s effort went out past the outstretched hand of Al Duhail goalkeeper Salah Zakaria in the 19th minute.
Soon, a charging Qatar SC player Hamed Ismail was fouled by Al Duhail defender Mehdi Benatia inside the box and referee Khamis al-Marri awarded a penalty, which was converted by Barrahma. During the half, Barrahma’s volley was parried by the rival goalkeeper, while Eduardo Rodriguez (Dudu) was the player who got more chances on Al Duhail side.
Dudu came close to equalising on many occasions. He was either thwarted by Qatar SC goalkeeper Jassim al-Hail or he was off-target. The Al Duhail duo of Abdullah al-Ahrak and Edmilson too made attempts at the goal.
Al Duhail came on for the second-half action by making three substitutions. New recruit and striker Michael Olunga, winger Ismail Mohamed and defender Mohamed Moosa took the field to strengthen their ranks and they equalised, with Edmilson brilliantly heading in a cross from deep in the left by Sultan al-Breik. With both teams being on par in terms of score, some tense moments followed.
Al Duhail further strengthened their attack line by replacing Almoez with Mohamed Muntari, but the game did not see another goal, as Barrahma’s free-kick in the 79th minute made its way out.
Earlier, Al Rayyan climbed to third in the table after a 3-0 win over Al Wakrah at the Qatar SC Stadium. Franck Kom (45+2 minute), Yohan Boli (62nd minute) and Shojae Khalilzadeh (90+4 minute) scored the goals for Al Rayyan, who dominated the proceedings.
With the win, their seventh overall, Al Rayyan moved on to 25 points. It was Al Rayyan’s third successive win under new coach Laurent Blanc. Al Wakrah remained 10th on 14 points.
After a steady start, Al Rayyan launched their first major threat in the 10th minute. Khalilzadeh jumped high for a snap-header off a corner kick, but the Iranian lost his balance as he bumped into Al Wakrah defender Abdulghani Muneer.
With a little more urgency in their attacks, Ahmed Abdelmaqsoud of Al Rayyan went solo in the 14th minute as he launched a fierce shot from the edge of the box, but Al Wakrah keeper Saoud al-Khater stayed in the right position to block the swinging shot.
Two minutes later, Boli also got into the thick of things as he produced a left-footed drive from the edge of Al Wakrah box, but his shot narrowly missed the goalpost.
In the 32nd minute, Khalilzadeh was beaten by the outstretched hand of al-Khater on an direct free-kick taken from near a corner flag. Al Rayyan’s concerted effort bore fruit in injury time when Kom brought a smile to coach Laurent Blanc’s face.
Abdelaziz Hatem curled in a free-kick that dipped on Kom dived in front – beating his marker Lucas Mendes – to slip the low ball to the left of goalkeeper moments before the end of the first half. Al Wakrah responded well with a few co-ordinated attacks in the first few minutes of the second half, but the Al Rayyan backline held firm to thwart any danger.
However, Al Rayyan picked up momentum quickly thereafter. Close to the hour mark, Abdelaziz Hatem curled in a beautiful long-range shot from outside the Al Wakrah box, but al-Khater parried the ball above the crossbar.
Two minutes later, Boli made it 2-0 for Al Rayyan. Boli, marked by Mendes on the right and Mohamed Aiash on the left, picked up a long cross from his own half. Mendes tried to clear the dipping ball, but could not. Boli showed great speed to reach the ball first and then tap it above the head of an advancing goalkeeper.
A couple of minutes later, Abdulrahman Mohamed produced a left-footed drive from the edge of the box, but Al Rayyan keeper Fahad Younis dived to his left and parried the ball away. In the dying seconds of the match, Khalilzadeh headed home from close range sending the ball into an open net after Al Wakrah keeper had stepped out of his own box to block a long-range cross.
In another match, Al Arabi and Umm Salal played out a goalless draw at the Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium. Arabi were reduced to 10 men after Nasser Ibrahim was sent off but Umm Salal could not take advantage of the numerical advantage. After yesterday’s match, Al Arabi stayed at seventh place with 20 points, while Umm Salal are ninth with 15 points.
A flurry of exchanges were witnessed, especially in the first half, but neither side could find the target. For Al Arabi, captain Aron Gunnarsson led from the front by playing the entire 90 minutes with his trademark aggressive game.
In the fifth minute, Mohamed Salah El Neel’s snap-header on a long throw-in lacked speed as Umm Salal goalkeeper Baba Malick collected the ball with relative ease. A few moments later, Gunnarsson also managed a header from close range on a corner kick, but the keeper dived to his left to stop the ball.
After a few missed chances, Al Arabi’s Mahdi Torabi attempted to break the deadlock with a long-range shot from outside the box, but the curling shot was pouched by Malick in the 20th minute. Four minutes later, Gunnarsson, known for his long throw-ins, delivered one for Sebastian Soria inside the Umm Salal box. Soria produced a header, but the ball was collected by the keeper.
Al Arabi played with 10 men from the 37th minute after Ibrahim Nasser Kalla was shown the red card for tugging the jersey of Ahmed Hammoudan, who had picked up a loose ball and charged into the rival box. Referee Saoud Ali al-Athba wasted little time in giving marching orders to Kalla though Umm Salal wasted the free-kick taken from the edge of the box.
However, Umm Salal failed to capitalise on the numerical advantage.
The second half also saw both teams create chances which, however, did not bear fruit.
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Dortmund’s Haaland fit for Sevilla clash
Barca given fresh start as Laporta elected new club president
Allen leads Windies to three-wicket win and series triumph
DeChambeau closes out win at Bay Hill
Ernst rolls to 5-shot victory in Drive On Championship
Giannis wins MVP as Team LeBron rule All-Star Game
Penguins blast Rangers with first-period flurry
IOC to re-elect Bach as chief with Games looming
Djokovic sets all-time record as world’s top player