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Al Sadd ease past Al Khor, El Arabi rescues Duhail

Gulf Times logo Gulf Times 17/02/2019 Gulf Times
a group of baseball players playing a football game © Provided by Gulf Times
Al Sadd’s Akram Afif (centre) scores against Al Khor during the QNB Stars League match at the Al Sadd stadium yesterday. PICTURE: Shemeer Rasheed

By Sports Reporter/Doha

Leaders Al Sadd scored a convincing 6-2 win over Al Khor, while Yousef El Arabi scored the all-important goal as second-placed Al Duhail scraped past Al Sailiya 1-0 at the QNB Stars League yesterday. Sadd were in smashing form as goals rained at the Al Sadd stadium, with Akram Afif (seventh, 10th and 64th minutes), Hamed Ismail (41st), Jung Woo-Young (55th) and Baghdad Bounedjah (57th) scoring for the hosts. Wagner Ferreira (15th minute) and Thiago Queiroz (90+2 penalty) scored Al Khor’s goals as they remained on nine points. Al Sadd, with 41 points, thus kept their two-point lead over Al Duhail.

Akram scored his first goal off a pass from Qatar national team captain Hassan al-Haydous. He scored his second after Gabi Fernandez did the spadework. Hamed Ismail found the net with a long rising shot as Al Sadd went into the half-time break with a 3-1 lead. Al Sadd continued from where they left off. Jung, tournament top scorer Bounedjah and Akram again were on target in the space of 19 minutes. Jung sent in a free-kick past the defensive wall and goalkeeper Mohammed al-Bakri.

Bounedjah found the mark as his shot landed in the goal off a deflection from Al Khor defender Khaled Radwan. Akram completed his hat-trick with an assist from Bounedjah.

Even as it looked easy for Al Sadd came another consolation for Al Khor when Jung ‘handled’ a free-kick taken by Thiago in stoppage time. Referee Abdulhadi al-Ruaile pointed to the spot and Thiago himself converted from it past a diving goalkeeper Meshaal Barshim to make the final scoreline read 6-2 in Al Sadd’s favour.

Meanwhile, El Arabi scored in the 70th minute for Duhail at home against third-placed Al Sailiya. Duhail missed the services of Qatar’s Asian Cup-winning heroes Almoez Ali and Bassam al-Rawi due to injuries, while Al Sailiya sorely missed their ace striker Rachid Tiberkanine, also through an injury. Both teams created opportunities in the first half, reigning champions Al Duhail more of them. They were unlucky not to have scored despite dominating possession way more than their rivals.

After Al Duhail’s Paolo Edmilson tested goalkeeper Saoud A Khater, who had a good game overall, Al Sailiya’s Abdulqadir Ilyas came up with a cracker of a shot, after he capitalised on a defensive mistake, only to be blocked by goalkeeper Amine Lecomte.

Al Duhail’s top scorer Yousef El Arabi and Al Sailiya’s Nadir Belhadj too made attempts at the goal. Soon after the restart, there were brisk activities at the Al Sailiya goal as The Red Knights upped the ante. The Al Duhail ranks thought they were in the lead when El Arabi sent a cracker of a shot against the bar in the 54th minute.

Soon, El Arabi came close off a free-kick, but was thwarted again. Japanese professional Shoya Nakajima, whom Al Duhail signed recently in place of injured South Korean playmaker Nam Tae-Hee, rose to the occasion on his debut. It was Nakajima who set the stage for the goal by giving a through pass to Edmilson before the latter cut the ball squarely for El Arabi to score. Before the goal, Ilyas got another chance. However, Lecomte showed good reflex to block his shot from close range. Al Sailiya made desperate efforts for an equaliser, but in vain.

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