By Sports Reporter Doha
Al Arabi beat Umm Salal 3-1 in convincing style in the QSL yesterday, thanks to second half goals from Emoh Ezekiel, Luis Jiminez and Boualem Khoukhi.
Both sides headed into the fixture, sitting mid-table in the standings. Al Arabi were eager to bounce back from their 3-0 Doha derby defeat to bitter rivals Al Rayyan, whilst Umm Salal were looking to build on a 3-1 victory over Al Wakrah and put pressure on Al Rayyan.
Umm Salal looked the likelier of the two to score in the opening 15 minutes of the game, containing the ball well in midfield and playing some lovely long balls over of Al Arabi’s defence. The long ball tactic nearly paid off on the 16th minute when Hilal Mohamed found himself on the end of a 50 yard ball and on the edge of the 18 yard box. His first touch unfortunately let him down and Arabi’s goalkeeper was able to comfortably smother it before he could get his shot away.
In the latter half of the first 45 minutes, Al Arabi began to turn the game in their favour, maintaining possession and piling the pressure on Umm Salal’s back four. In the 27th minute, Arabi were unlucky not to go one up after some lovely build up play saw Arabi’s number 7, Ahmed Khalfan, chip a sneaky ball over Umm Salal’s back four to find Luis Jimenez who lobbed the goalkeeper only to be denied by the crossbar.
Just as the first half was looking like it may be a goalless affair, Umm Salal were gifted a chance thanks to some sloppy defending from Arabi’s Ahmed Maqsoud, who lost the ball to Umm Salal’s Yannick Sagbo 22 yards from goal after some clumsy footwork.
Sagbo was quick to pounce and smashed a low shot towards the bottom right hand corner of the post. However, the ball ricocheted off the post and fell kindly for Umm Salal’s Hilal who hammered it home from the edge of the 18 yard box to give The Orange Fortress the lead going into half time.
Umm Salal’s lead last approximately 30 seconds in the second half after Arabi scored from the whistle. A long ball from kick-off found Imoh Ezekiel, who beat the offside trap and darted into the 18 yard box. Despite attempting to drill the ball across the six yard box, it took a nasty deflection from a defender and crossed the line to level the game at 1-1.
Arabi upped the pressure and bagged another goal just five minutes later after Luiz Juminez pounced on a defensive mistake and hit a quick shot from 12 yards out that Baba Malick really should have saved. Against the run of play, Umm Salal nearly bagged an equaliser but were denied by the woodwork after Abdulaziz
al-Yahari hit a lovely inside right footed shot within the 18 yard box.
Any dreams of a point were short-lived though as minutes later, Arabi’s captain, Boualem Khoukhi, netted from close range on the 88th minute to bag his seventh of the season and all three points for Al Arabi.
Al Ahli dominate Muaither in 2-0 win
Al Ahli downed relegation threatened beat Muaither 2-0 in what was Yusef Adam’s first win with the club since being rehired by the Brigadeers. Goals from defender John Benson and DR Congo International Ndombe Mubele secured Al Ahli’s third win of the season.
Al Ahli managed a couple of corners in the first 6 minutes but struggling Muaither withstood the pressure early in the first half at Al Gharafa Stadium. In the 8th minute, Al Ahli’s Gnuessan Yessoh produced a snap-header with a high jump inside the Muaither box but his deflection missed the target.
A few seconds later, Al Ahli’s Mubele broke free of his marker and fired a bullet from the edge of the Muaither box but his shot narrowly missed the goalpost. In the 14th minute, Yessoh once again broke free through the Muaither defence but his slick shot missed the target for the second time in the first half.
Faced with mounting attacks, Muaither’s inexperienced defender Saeed al-Haj was booked by the referee for a rough tackle on Benson close to the half-hour mark. Seconds before the first-half whistle, Muaither goalkeeper Zaidan blocked a powerful but long-range shot from Al Ahli’s Mohamed Hussain to keep his side in the hunt in the first half.
Early in the second half, however, Al Ahli scored the first goal. Benson headed home from close range following a goal-line melee after a corner kick in the 48th minute. It was a welcome reprieve for Al Ahli who had dominated much of the tie.
Seven minutes later, the Meshal Abdullah-Mubele combination lifted Al Ahli to a 2-0 lead. Skipper Abdullah headed a neat lob towards Mubele who fired one on the volley past goalkeeper Zaidan in the 55th minute. Muaither offered little in the later stages and Ahli held on for a vital win to boost their survival hopes.
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