By Sports Reporter/ Doha
Mohamed Muntari struck in the 65th minute as Al Duhail pipped Umm Salal 1-0 in the QNB Stars League Sunday.
Al Gharafa also won by a similar margin, beating Al Arabi in the second match of the day, with Sofiane Hanni scoring the all-important goal in the 51st minute.
Former champions Al Duhail moved on to 17 points with Sunday’s win, while Umm Salal stayed on five. It was Al Duhail’s fifth victory and Rui Faria’s boys thus extended their unbeaten run, having drawn their other two games.
Al Duhail attacked from the onset, with Paolo Edmilson leading the charge. His long-ranger hit the right upright before Umm Salal goalkeeper Yazan Naim, who had a good day saving many shots, thwarted the Brazilian.
Al Duhail players unleashed shot after shot at the goal, underlining their domination. Ali Afif sent a left-footer wide and then Yazan blocked a Luis Martin shot.
On Umm Salal’s part, Ivorian striker Yannick Sagbo, coming from an injury layoff, skied the ball from close on 30 minutes and Nasser al-Nasr had his shot saved by Al Duhail goalkeeper Amine Lecomte.
Muntari had a headed goal disallowed for offside.
Meanwhile, Umm Salal’s Joao Bruno made a goalline save off Karim Boudiaf’s half-volley in stoppage time as the first half drew to a close goalless.
On to the second half and Almoez Ali took over the main attacking duty of Al Duhail. He made two serious attempts at the goal before Muntari was on target off a corner kick. The lanky striker’s volley hit the body of Yazan before going in.
In the second match, Slavisa Jokanovic-coached Al Gharafa, with their fourth win, now have 14 points, one more than Al Arabi who thus crashed to their first defeat in this season’s QNB Stars League.
However, Al Arabi coached by Icelander Heimir Hallgrimsson, have the advantage of having played one game less since their Week 5 fixture against Al Sadd, dubbed the Qatar Derby, was deferred due to the latter’s AFC Champions League commitment. Al Arabi’s new recruit from Iceland, Birkir Bjarnason, made his debut as his compatriot and fellow midfielder Aron Gunnarsson, nursing an injury, watched from the stands.
The Al Arabi goal had a close call in the 19th minute as Jassem Jaber, attempting to clear a Muad Hassan cross from the left, headed the ball accidentally into his own post. However, goalkeeper Gregory Gomis collected the rebound from the cross-piece without fail.
Al Gharafa earned a penalty in the first half, but Ahmed Alaaeldin hit his shot against the horizontal and he could not connect the rebound either.
Al Arabi created more opportunities in a barren opening session, with their top scorer and Tunisian striker Hamdi Harbaoui being the spearhead. Mohamed Salah El Neel headed a free-kick goalbound, but the ball hit Al Gharafa goalkeeper Qasem Burhan.
The second half started and it was Al Gharafa who surged ahead. Hanni was on hand to place the ball home after Gomis fumbled in collecting a cross from the left by Othman al-Yahri, much to the dismay of home fans.
Al Arabi made desperate attempts at the goal in their bid to equalise and Pierre Lassoga came up with a dropping header, but the ball went wide of the mark.
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