Chaito shines as An­sar knock Zgharta for six

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - SPORTS -

BEIRUT: An­sar twice came from be­hind be­fore romp­ing to a 6-2 win over Salam Zgharta Fri­day to close to within five points of lead­ers Ne­jmeh and Ahed in match­day 10 of the Le­banese premier League.

Sum­mer sign­ing Hasan Chaito bagged a hat-trick for the vis­i­tors, while Tu­nisian winger Hous­sam alLouwati set up three and scored an­other him­self.

There was also a goal for league top scorer El­hadji Tall, who took his tally for the sea­son to 10.

A six-goal shel­lack­ing, how­ever, would have been the fur­thest thing from An­sar’s minds af­ter their sham­bolic start in Zgharta.

The game was barely two min­utes old when a switch of play to Ed­mond Che­hadi on the left re­sulted in the open­ing goal on the sod­den pitch.

Che­hadi did re­mark­ably well un­der the cir­cum­stances to control and then stand a de­light­ful ball at the far post for Alex Botros to head home for Zgharta.

But the team’s ela­tion lasted just three min­utes.

Louati then danced his way past two de­fend­ers be­fore squar­ing for Chaito to equal­ize from close range for An­sar.

The ad­verse con­di­tions seemed to add to the spec­ta­cle, and goals con­tin­ued to flow start­ing with Zgharta’s sec­ond.

Youssef Barakat threaded a pierc­ing pass through to the ram­pag­ing Ma­madou Ni­ass, who lashed the ball across the face of the goal for Boutros to touch in his sec­ond at the back stick.

Zgharta’s ad­van­tage was again erased with fright­en­ing speed as An­sar lit­er­ally went up the other end to level the af­fair.

The fa­mil­iar face of Louati was at the fore­front of the at­tack, the 26-year-old turn­ing his marker in­side out be­fore lift­ing an inch-per­fect cross for Nas­sar Nas­sar to score from a pot­shot.

The match then wit­nessed its first lull, with 16 min­utes elaps­ing with­out a goal in the topsy-turvy first half of the game.

That was un­til Louati in­ter­vened, again, to guide his side to their first lead.

A quickly taken free kick from Louati fell invit­ingly to Chaito, who had an eter­nity in­side the box to control turn and then fire past Mustafa Matar.

Zgharta’s tails dropped with the con­ces­sion of a third, as the hosts folded badly in the dy­ing em­bers of the first half.

Hamza Kheir ended up get­ting caught un­derneath the ball when at­tempt­ing to clear his lines, send­ing Tall racing through to slot home his 10th goal of the cam­paign on the stroke of half­time.

There was yet time for An­sar to add a fifth goal, with Louati cap­ping his daz­zling dis­play fol­low­ing an­other dread­ful piece of de­fend­ing from Kheir.

A hope­ful punt for­ward trick­led through the Zgharta back line, with Kheir mus­cled off the ball by Louati, who curled his strike into the bot­tom cor­ner to give An­sar a stag­ger­ing 5-2 lead at the break.

The sec­ond half was largely a non­event, though Chaito did man­age to seal his hat-trick with just five min­utes re­main­ing.

Ad­nan Haidar dinked over Zgharta’s weary de­fense for Chaito, who met the ball with a sweet first­time strike to give An­sar a glim­mer of hope in the ti­tle race.

Also Fri­day, Shabab al-Ghazieh recorded an im­pres­sive 3-1 vic­tory at Shabab al-Sa­hel to move into sixth place.

Ivo­rian striker Jean Keke scored ei­ther side of Khalil Bader’s strike, with Ab­du­laziz N’Di­aye pulling one back for the Sa­hel. – J.J.

Shabab al-Ghazieh cel­e­brate fol­low­ing their 3-1 win over Shabab al-Sa­hel.

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