Al Ahli registered their first points with a 3-2 win over defending champions Al Sailiya in their Group A match of the Ooredoo Cup at the Al Ahli Stadium yesterday.
Al Sadd, Al Wakrah, Umm Salal and Qatar SC are the other teams in Group A. Group B consists of Al Duhail, Al Markhiya, Al Arabi, Al Shamal, Al Gharafa and Al Rayyan.
This was Al Ahli’s first win after they had lost 1-2 to Umm Salal in the opening round. For Al Sailiya, this was their second successive loss following the 0-4 reversal against Al Sadd in Round 1.
Al Ahli’s win came through goals from their star Sofiane Hanni (18th minute), Mostafa Mohammed (own goal, 51st minute) and Ali Qaderi (81st minute). For Al Sailiya, Fares Khaled (21st minute) and Carlos Strandberg (29st minute) scored.
The attacking Hanni was both the playmaker and scorer as he made a move and waited for the ball to be passed on to him from the right by Aldoukali Alsaeed to strike the first goal.
But within minutes, Al Sailiya equalised, scoring off a throw-in which was passed from near the goalline by Strandberg to a well-positioned Fares in front of the goal.
The tall Swede Strandberg was again back in action and this time to make a fine header. It was an alert Mostafa Mohamed who against the run of play initiated the counter-action. He sent in a high-flying long cross to Strandberg, who gleefully headed it into the goal.
Fortunes swung Al Ahli’s way soon in the second half when Fahad Khalfan’s kick was deflected into his own goal from an acute angle by Mostafa Mohamed. Interestingly, it was the same Mostafa who had cut off a dangerous kick from Aldoukali in the dying minutes of first half.
Scores equalised 2-2, Al Ahli stepped up efforts and were rewarded when Abdulrasheed Ibrahim sent up a centre to captain Ali Qaderi right in front of the goal to complete the formality. It was a fine field goal and provided for celebrations for Al Ahli, who now have three points from two games while Al Sailiya are yet to open their account.
In the other matches of the day, Umm Salal defeated Qatar SC 3-1, while Al Sadd beat Al Wakrah 3-0.