Battling Al Arabi snatch late draw against Al Wakrah
Bjarnason strikes Al Arabi’s equaliser in injury time in dramatic encounter; Al Ahli edge past struggling Umm Salal.
Al Arabi snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat, striking at the very end to force a 2-2 tie against Al Wakrah and arrest their worrying slide in the Qatar Stars League on Friday.
At the Al Arabi Stadium, there was plenty of drama in the game’s final moments. As the match ticked into the 90th minute, the score read 1-1 but Wakrah scored off a penalty through Mohamed Benyettou to seize what seemed like a winning lead.
Staring at certain defeat, Arabi’s response came in a series of brilliant attacks. In the sixth minute of stoppage time, Birkir Bjarnason finally snatched the equaliser through a left-footed shot after Pierre Lasogga headed down a corner.
The relief in the Arabi camp was palpable as they narrowly avoided a third straight loss. But coach Heimir Hallgrimsson is unlikely to be happy with the way things are panning out now after their excellent start to the season.
Arabi are still in fourth place with 14 points from eight matches. But two defeats and a draw in the last three matches do not paint a pleasing picture.
On Friday, Arabi had fallen behind in the 40th, with Wakrah’s Mohammed Al Bayati breaching their defence with a fierce shot from outside the penalty area.
- Al Ahli 1 (Abel Mathias 8th) bt Umm Salal 0.
Al Arabi 2 (Mohammed Salah El Neel 68th, Birkir Bjarnason 90th) drew with Al Wakrah 2 (Mohammed Al Bayati 40th, Mohamed Benyettou 90th).
Struggling hard for the equaliser, Arabi finally succeeded in the 68th through Mohammed Salah Al Neel. The youngster picked up a clever pass from Lasogga and dribbled up between two defenders to place the ball past goalkeeper Saoud Mubarak Al Khater.
Arabi’s efforts to find a second goal did not bear fruit and they suffered a big setback when referee Abdulhadi Al Ruaile awarded Wakrah a penalty for a foul in the final minute of regulation play.
Benyettou’s crisp finish handed Wakrah the advantage. But Arabi proved it was not over until it was over, finding the equaliser through Bjarnason.
Wakrah, who drew their second straight game, are eighth with nine points.
In the day’s first match, Umm Salal’s woes continued as they suffered a 0-1 defeat to Al Ahli at the latter’s stadium. Playing their first game under new coach Ahmed El Abyad, Umm Salal missed a clutch of chances. Al Ahli netted their lone goal through Abel Mathias in the eighth.
Al Ahli are sixth with 13 points while Umm Salal stayed on the penultimate spot with five from nine matches.