13 Jan 2018 - 0:00
QSL: Sneijder makes debut as Al Gharafa edge past Al Ahli
Doha: Al Gharafa registered a 2-1 victory over hosts Al Ahli while Al Sailiya grabbed a late goal to secure a point against Al Arabi in 1-1 draw in the QNB Stars League Week 12 encounters at Ahli stadium yesterday.
Ahmed Alaeldin (58th and 70th minutes) scored for Al Gharafa after Yassine Chikhaoui gave Al Ahli the lead in the 16th.
The two-goal effort underlined the sheer brilliance of Alaeldin.
Al Gharafa, under new coach Bulent Uygun, went on attacking mode right from the word go. They created chance after chance, with new recruit and Dutch attacking midfielder Wesley Sneijder being at the centre of the moves.
But Al Ahli, also playing their first match under Spaniard George Jorje, went ahead against the run of play when Tunisian midfielder Chikhaoui volleyed the ball home after a faulty clearance following a free-kick from the left by Mohsin Hassan. That was Al Ahli’s first real chance in the game.
Al Gharafa striker Abdulaziz Hatem soon fumbled a couple of chances. First, he shot straight to goalkeeper Yazan Naim and then hit the ball over the bar when unchallenged.
Chikhaoui again wreaked havoc in the rival area off a counter-attack only to see captain Meshaal Abdullah answering his hard work with a feeble shot that was too easy for Al Gharafa goalkeeper Qasim Burhan to stop.
Al Gharafa pressed hard and kept creating opportunities, while Al Ahli played a charging game. Sneijder had a free-kick saved by Yazan at the stroke of half-time.
The second half started and Al Ahli saw a chance go to waste when Ali Qadri shot against the body of Burhan after being set up by Mohammed Muntari, on loan from Al Duhail.
Al Graham did not have to wait for long to be on level terms when Alaeldin, a huge bundle of talent and energy, placed the ball home after trapping it nicely off a cross from Othman Al Yahri from the right.
An unmarked Alaeldin struck again 12 minutes later, this time sending a first-time shot off a cross from the right by captain Luis Jimenez.
The following minutes saw a marauding Cheetahs give Yazan a tough time. But then Al Ahli too had their share of chances even as the rivals continued to enjoy more possession.
As the match wore on, Chikhaoui pulled the strings as Al Ahli did everything to earn an equaliser, the closest being substitute Majed Mohammed’s rising shot hitting the horizontal before flying over.
In the second match at the same venue,Al Arabi opened the scoring through Ahmed Abdulla in the 45th minute, but his goal was cancelled out in the 76th by Abdulrahman Al Harazi.
After the winter break, the game was slow to get into action, with Al Sailiya gaining the most of the territorial advantage.
Their closest chances came through Romanian midfielder Valentin Lazar whose shot from a tight angle was well saved by the goalkeeper, followed by Wagner Ribeiro with a long-range effort.
With the half drawing to a close, it was the visitors who took the initiative as they surprised Al Arabi on the break.
A long clearance upfield was chased down by Ahmed Abdulla who used his pace to run past Hamad Al Abidi on the left wing before breaking into the box and coolly slotting home.
Into the second half and Khalfan Ibrahim nearly doubled the advantage as he was inches away from meeting a header from close range.
Al Sailiya started to play with more control as the game wore on and were rewarded through Al Harazi. Valentin sent in a ball from the left-hand side of the box and Al Harazi slid in to poke the ball into the net.
Six minutes from time, Al Harazi nearly scored again as he climbed highest to reach a header, but could not quite find the target and the game ended all square.