Al Gharafa secured a top four spot in the QNB Stars League after thrashing Umm Salal 5-1 at the Suhaim Bin Hamad Stadium Saturday.
Gharafa were in sixth place going into the final round of the league, but with Al Ahli and Qatar Sports Club suffering losses on Friday, Slavisa Jokanovic’s men needed to win against Umm Salal Saturday.
Gharafa finished with 33 points, the same as Al Ahli but snatched the fourth place as they had a better goal difference. Qatar SC, who had lost to Al Sadd on Friday, ended their campaign in fifth placed with 32 points.
Saturday, Gharafa made full use of the golden opportunity but not without early scare. Umm Salal took the lead through Kayke Rodrigues in the 15th minute but Gharafa equalised through Koo Ja-Cheol in the 26th minute.
Jokanovic’s men came back with much better purpose in the second half as Gharafa went ahead just two minutes after the resumption through Othman Alawi. In the 59th minute, Ahmed Mohamed Al Ganehi doubled the lead before goals from Jonathan Kodjia (62nd minute) and A. Guedioura (90th minute) put the victory behind doubt.
In another match, Al Wakrah beat Al Kharitiyat 2-0 with Abdulrahman Fahmi Moustafa and Muneer Abdulghani Mazeed scoring a goal each. Kharitiyat were already relegated before the match, while Wakrah finished eighth with 26 points.
In the first match Saturday, Al Arabi defeated Al Sailiya 3-1.
Mehrdad Mohammadi scored a hat-trick (ninth-minute penalty, 26th minute and 81st minute) for Al Arabi, while Ramin Rezaeian (45+2) pulled one back for Al Sailiya.
Al Arabi finished seventh with 29 points after their eighth victory while Al Sailiya concluded their campaign on 26 points.
Al Arabi’s Abdulaziz al-Ansari took first shot on target in the first minute as the match generated a lot of pace shortly after kick-off. Al Ansari created another chance, but Yousef Msakni’s drive flew over the crossbar.
The Dream Team took the lead after winning a penalty, with Serigne Mbodji being penalised for a foul on Sebastian Soria inside the box. Mehrdad took the spot kick, firing the ball in centre with Al Sailiya goalkeeper Claude Amine unable to read his strike.
Mbodji’s header from a free-kick in the 17th minute just sailed over crossbar as Al Sailiya looked for an equaliser.
But Al Arabi doubled the lead, with Mehrdad doing the damage again with a stunning left-footed hit on the right from outside the box, leaving no chance for a diving Amine.
Al Sailiya cut the lead just before half-time as Ramin headed in a long cross from Nadir Belhadj.
A brilliant header by Al Arabi substitute Fahad Khalfan from Aron Gunnarsson’s cross was punched away nicely by Amine soon after the start of second session.
Al Arabi were in good control keeping Al Sailiya under constant pressure with repeated attacks. A fabulous display inside the box by substitute Mohamed Salah was also denied by The Peregrines after the hour mark.
Al Sailiya got a chance to equalise following a long cross by Belhadj, picked well by Mohanad Ali in the area, but Al Arabi goalkeeper Mahmoud Abunada blocked his attempt from close range.
Gunnarsson was carted off after suffering an ankle injury 15 minutes from time.
Mehrdad completed his hat-trick with another impressive goal as he raced into the goal with an attack from the left, beating Amine and two defenders to chip the ball in for his third goal, sealing a commanding win for Al Arabi.