Al Rayyan and Ahli share points, Arabi pip Al Khor
Al Rayyan now have 22 points and trail leaders Al Duhail by a whopping nine points
Al Rayyan lost further ground in the race towards the QNB Stars League title when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Al Ahli at the Al Ahli Stadium yesterday.
Lucca Borges scored for Al Rayyan in the fourth minute, an advantage that was nullified by Al Ahli’s Mouhcine Moutaouli in the 75th minute.
Al Rayyan now have 22 points and trail leaders Al Duhail by a whopping nine points, while Al Sadd are in second spot with 23. Al Ahli, who have had a few good results in of late, are fifth on 19.
Al Rayyan were on the go from the beginning, with Brazilian striker Lucca spearheading their attacks and Rodrigo Tabata and Sebastian Soria playing the supporting roles.
Al Ahli started without regular striker Meshaal Abdulla and Ali Ferydoon. Instead, Mohamed Muntari led their charge, with Moutaouli advancing from the midfield.
The Lions made their intentions clear by surging ahead early in the game when Lucca rose high to head in a cross from the right by Mowafak Awad.
Al Rayyan kept attacking even though Al Ahli had slightly more possession and Lucca got a chance, but Al Ahli goalkeeper Ivanildo Rodriguez blocked his shot in a one-on-one situation in the 16th minute.
Tabata then sent his shot over the bar from the top of penalty box in the 37th.
The second half witnessed more intense exchanges. It was Al Rayyan who were more in the thick of action again. Ivanildo thwarted Tabata after one hour and soon, Muntari came up with a feeble header off a Moutaouli cross. Al Rayyan goalkeeper Omar Barry easily collected it.
Al Ahli had their best chance to reduce deficit in the 74th minute, but Moutaouli sent his shot straight to the goalkeeper.
However, The Brigadiers were not to be denied for long. They drew parity in the next minute as Moutaouli slammed home the ball from close range after teammate Mohammed Reza failed to connect the ball first.
Meanwhile, Al Arabi recorded a hard-fought 1-0 victory against a spirited Al Khor side at the Al Khor Stadium.
The only goal of the night came through Mohamed Salah El Neel in the 26th minute.
In a highly-competitive first half, the chances were few and far between. Wagner Ferreira had orchestrated much of the play for Al Khor and saw a fiery shot from distance being well held by opposition goalkeeper Masoud Zarayi.
The deadlock was broken against the run of play midway through the half as a result of some smart link-up play between Franco Hurtado and El Neel.
Hurtado’s lofted through ball was chased down by El Neel who finished with great conviction despite protests from the Al Khor defence which claimed an infringement in the run-up to the goal.
With much of the possession and opportunities created by Al Khor, Wagner was again in the act midway through the second half when he saw his 30-yard, whipped free-kick being parried to safety by Zarayi.
In another match yesterday, Al Sailiya defeated Umm Salal 2-0 with Abdulqader Ilyas and Fahad Yousef on target.
It was Al Sailiya’s sixth win in 11 matches and they are fourth with 19 points.
Late on Thursday, Al Gharafa rode on a double strike by Wesley Sneijder to beat Qatar SC 2-0. Sneijder (45+2 penalty and 83rd minute) scored Al Gharafa’s goals. The star Dutch midfielder took his tally for the season to six goals.
The night also turned sour for Sneijder as he received red card for fouling Qatar SC goalkeeper Jassim al-Hail in stoppage time.
The victory, Al Gharafa’s fifth in this season’s league competition, saw them move to 18 points.
Al Rayyan players celebrate their goal against Al Ahli in the QNB Stars League yesterday. PICTURE: Jayan Orma