Al Gharafa, Al Rayyan draw goalless
Cheetahs fail to convert their advantage into goals; Al Khor defeat Umm Salal.
Al Gharafa’s persistence failed to get any reward as they drew goalless with Al Rayyan in a second-round game of the Qatar Stars League on Friday.
Al Gharafa were the better of the two sides right through, but they could not find a breakthrough. The Cheetahs had a goal disallowed through VAR while Rayyan’s goalkeeper Fahad Younis also proved a stumbling block, coming up with several fine saves to keep his team afloat.
Gharafa, who had defeated Al Shahania 3-0 in their first match, took their points to four from two games. They are on top of the table at the moment while Rayyan are still in search of a win, having drawn 2-2 with Umm Salal in their first match.
In the first match of the day, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Wakrah, Al Khor enjoyed a bright evening as they defeated Umm Salal 1-0.
Rayyan’s fans created a terrific atmosphere at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium in Al Sadd. Their prayers and cheers seemed to have been answered when Lee Jae-Ik found the mark early in the game, but it was ruled out for offside.
Soon, Gharafa took over and Sofiane Hanni’s lovely strike silenced the home team supporters in the 10th minute. But referee Saoud Ali Athba checked with VAR and noticed a foul in the lead up to the goal. A yellow card for Gharafa defender Almahdi Al Mukhtar was the result, leaving them perplexed.
Gharafa continued to hold sway and created several chances too. Ahmed Alaeeldin hit the side-netting after he was put through by Adlane Guedioura on the left while Othman Alawi’s shot was kept out nicely by Fahad Younis.
In between sporadic Al Rayyan attacks, Gharafa took over the reins in the second half. But Fahad’s reflexes spoilt their plans. Othman and Hanni both directed powerful shots at goal, but Fahad was everywhere, diving to both sides and palming the danger away.
Two minutes from the final whistle finally Fahad was beaten by a header from Almahdi off a corner, but the crosspiece came in the way.
Enjoying a lucky escape, Rayyan were presented with a rare opportunity in injury time, with Abdalaziz Al Hasia all alone in the rival half. But his delay allowed the Gharafa players to fall back and protect their territory.
In the other game, Al Khor maintained their strong start to the season with a win over Umm Salal. Omar Najhi’s men had drawn their opening match against Al Sailiya, but on Friday, they went a step further.
The only game of the match came in the 65th minute, after Al Khor had dominated the first half. Khor’s Moroccan forward Ahmed Hammoudan was the man who broke the deadlock, stabbing home a cross from Abdulla Al Moraisi from the right.
Umm Salal thought they had a penalty after Yannick Sagbo took a tumble inside the area, but VAR decided otherwise.
Raul Caneda’s men kept up the pressure till the final minute but an equaliser eluded them. Umm Salal had drawn their opener with Al Rayyan 2-2.