Striker Olunga nets brace as Al Duhail ease past Al Arabi
January 09 2022 12:00 AM
Michael Olunga
Al Duhail forward Michael Olunga celebrates after scoring against Al Arabi during the QNB Stars League match at the Grand Hamad Stadium yesterday. PICTURES: Noushad Thekkayil

By Sports Reporter/Doha

Michael Olunga’s brace helped Al Duhail secure a 2-0 win over Al Arabi in the QNB Stars League yesterday. The former champions are just three points behind leaders Al Sadd, who have played two games more than their rivals. 
Al Sadd’s match against Qatar SC, which was scheduled for Friday, was postponed due to outbreak of coronavirus in the Wolves camp. 
Their match against Al Wakrah was also deferred due to the same reason couple of weeks back. 
Kenyan striker Olunga scored his goals in the fourth and 48th minutes, which took Duhail’s tally to 29 points as they consolidated their second place. Al Arabi remain fourth with 20 points after their fifth defeat.
Duhail grabbed an early lead through Olunga, who took advantage of Almoez Ali’s pass after the Al Arabi defence failed to clear the ball. And Olunga hit the ball home to the right of goalkeeper Sataa al-Abbasi.
Al Arabi started showing better cohesion and almost scored the equaliser in the 12th minute, but Abdullah Marafih hit his shot against the right post. Al Duhail then exerted pressure on the rival defence and, in the 35th minute, Edmilson fired a powerful shot from inside the penalty area, which was brilliantly saved by al-Abbasi, conceding a corner kick.
The second half was full of excitement and Al Duhail soon added a second goal, again through Olunga, who received Mohamed Alaaeldin’s cross from the right before finding the target. In the 68th minute, Al Arabi’s Abdulrahman Fahmy fired a powerful shot from outside the penalty area, but it missed the target.
The match became fast-paced and Al Arabi pressed hard to reduce the margin, but the Al Duhail defence held firm. In the 79th minute, Ahmed Fathy penetrated through the Al Duhail defence and was alone in the goal, but goalkeeper Salah Zakaria came to the rescue.
In another match, Al Khor and Umm Salal played out a 1-1 draw. Ayman Hussein gave Umm Salal ahead in the 63rd minute, but Saeed Brahimi helped Al Khor draw parity in the 79th minute. Umm Salal are fifth with 19 points, while Al Khor are 11th on nine points. 
The two teams played a strong match and Umm Salal were relatively superior throughout, despite their cautious approach at the beginning. Al Khor goalkeeper Baba Djibril effected saves in the 31st and 36th minutes, first thwarting a missile shot by Isael Barbosa and then a strong header from Ayman Hussein.
After a barren first half, Umm Salal upped their ante in the second half. They surged ahead through Ayman Hussein with the help of in-form Yassin al-Bakhit. The match really came to life after the goal and Umm Salal players missed some opportunities to score. On the other hand, Al Khor were not to be content defending and they succeeded in scoring through Brahimi. The following minutes witnessed attempts by both sides, but for another goal.
Meanwhile, the match between Al Rayyan and Al Wakrah was postponed yesterday after Al Wakrah’s Ousmane Coulibaly suffered a heart attack, which required the intervention of medical and ambulance staff present at the Thani bin Jassim Stadium. 
The Qatar Stars League said in a statement that Coulibaly was currently receiving necessary medical care and attention. “The Qatar Stars League wishes the player a fast recovery, and we would like to thank the medical staff of both teams, paramedics and doctors for their great efforts during such events,” it said in a statement.
The match was abandoned after Al Wakrah players refused to play, clearly shaken by the events unfolding in front of their eyes. The QSL said the match will completed at a later date, with Al Rayyan leading 1-0.
Qatar Football Association president Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Thani was at the stadium to watch the game and he was on the pitch in minutes to speak with the managements of both sides, and the match officials.
Al Wakrah media officer Mohamed al-Sulaiti later told Al Kaas: “We don’t care about the three points, we don’t care about the match. We are only concerned now about Ousmane’s well-being and the other players.”

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