Al Arabi strike form to notch big win over Umm Salal
Hallgrimson's men recover from a goal down to post a 5-1 win and soar to the top of the table.
Al Arabi turned on their attacking might in an effective fashion to demolish Umm Salal’s ambitions as the third round of the Qatar Stars League opened with a glut of goals on Friday.
At the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium in Al Sadd, Arabi recovered from a goal down to post a 5-1 win, giving their fans much to cheer about.
The first match of the day too had produced goals aplenty, with Al Ahli defeating Al Khor 3-2 at the Al Janoub Stadium in Wakrah.
Arabi, coached by Heimir Hallgrimson, had banked on their crosses to trouble their rivals in the first two rounds. It was no different on Friday as Umm Salal struggled to come to terms with a roving Yusuf Abdurisag and the tall front men, Pierre Lassoga and Hamdi Harbaoui. A match that started off on a promising note for Umm Salal thus ended in a heavy defeat.
With champions Al Sadd not playing, Arabi now head the table with seven points. Umm Salal occupy the lower rungs with just one point after three games.
Arabi, playing with confidence and stroking the ball around, dominated early play, but were stunned when Umm Salal took the lead in the 26th minute. Murad Naji’s cross from the right surprised their defence and in the middle, captain Yannick Sagbo slid forward to direct it past Gregory Gomez in the Arabi goal.
Abdurisag then took over play to bring on calmness in the Arabi ranks. The Qatari international was all over the field and his cross from the right was met with Mohamed Salah who came up with a diving header to restore parity, five minutes from half-time.
And when Aron Gunnarson thundered in a header off a corner from Muniesa Martinez at the stroke of half-time, Arabi were well on their way.
They completely dominated the second half, striking two more goals in a six-minute period. Harbaoui fired home the third when a cross from Fahad Ali was headed on by Lasogga in the 49th minute.
Six minutes later, Lasogga drilled in a rebound after Abdurisag had split the defence and tested the goalkeeper from the right.
Compounding Umm Salal’s misery, Adil Rhaili netted an own goal in the 65th minute, trying to cut off a cross from Musab Mohammed on the right.
Everything had gone wrong for Raul Caneda’s men as the Arabi fans went home, singing and flashing their mobile lights.
Elsewhere, a last-minute penalty helped Al Ahli to claim their second win. The scores were level at 2-2 when Hernan Perez stepped up to take the spot-kick and his cool finish fetched Al Ahli three points.
Madagascar player Ibrahim Amada’s 30-yard ripper had given Al Khor the lead in the 32nd minute, but Al Ahli drew level 13 minutes into the second session through Nabi El Zhar. The Al Ahli captain converted a penalty after Abdelrahman Moustafa was fouled by Khaled Hassan, prompting referee Nayef Al Kadri to point to the spot.
A goalkeeping blunder by Rajab Kassim then paved the way for the second Al Ahli goal in the 66th minute. Kassim came out for a corner, but failed to grab the ball and Abel Hernandez pounced to make it 2-1.
Al Khor brought parity through a crisp finish by Ahmed Hammoudan in the 76th minute. A draw seemed certain as timed ticked by, but that last-minute penalty ruined Al Khor’s plans.
Al Ahli moved up to six points from three games while Al Khor have four points after the same number of matches.