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Nov 26 - Dec 8, 2019
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Duhail hit four past Sadd, Gharafa win

Defending Qatar Stars League champions Al Sadd crash to heavy 1-4 defeat against Duhail, Gharafa leapfrog to third place.
Duhail’s Almoez Ali Prepares To Shoot Past Al Sadd’s Wooyoung Jung During The Qatar Stars League Match
Duhail’s Almoez Ali prepares to shoot past Al Sadd’s Jung Woo-Young during the Qatar Stars League match. IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

Duhail SC proved to be fourth-time lucky against Al Sadd and as if to prove that point, pumped in four goals past them. The 4-1 win at home also helped them reclaim the top spot in the Qatar Stars League (QSL) standings with 23 points.

In the day’s other match, Al Gharafa defeated Al Khor 3-1 to leapfrog Sadd (15pts) and move to third place with 17 points.

The recent match-ups between defending champions Sadd and runners-up Duhail have been exciting affairs.

Duhail, having drawn one and lost two matches against Sadd this season, showed terrific intent.

The result was all the more impressive because Duhail missed three key players — defender Bassam Al Rawi, midfielders Luiz Martin and Assim Madibo — due to injuries.

Duhail suffered in the first 20 minutes. Their passing was terrible forcing Belgian Edmilson Junior and Almoez Ali to chase balls that went far too wide.

Sadd went ahead in the 14th minute through talismanic striker Hassan Al Haydos, who went airborne to kick in a cross from Algerian striker Baghdad Bounedjah from the right.

Duhail redeemed themselves in the 33rd by equalising from a penalty. Salem Ali Al Hajri fouled Almoez inside the box, and the referee pointed to the spot.

Mohammed Muntari scored quickly but had to be stretchered off to the hospital a few minutes later after colliding with Sadd’s Jung Woo-Young.

Duhail then increased the lead to 2-1, just before half-time, when Karim Boudiaf jumped up high to head in an Edmilson corner kick. It landed in the net’s far-right corner.

Going into the break with the lead seemed to rejuvenate Duhail’s players, and they were a transformed lot in the second half.

Duhail Players Celebrate A Goal Against Al Sadd
Duhail players celebrate a goal against Al Sadd. IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

Edmilson increased their lead in the 81st with a stunning strike. Substitute Youssef Msakni, who ran in from the left, set the Belgian up with a perfect cross and he made no mistake.

Duhail suffered a setback seven minutes later when Ahmed Yasser Abdelazeez was given marching orders for a second yellow card, for pushing Sadd’s Nam Tae-Hee. He was shown a yellow in the 23rd, for a foul on Al Hajri.

With five minutes of added time and an extra player, Sadd still hoped for a comeback. Those hopes were quickly killed off by Almoez, who fired a bullet shot in the 91st.

Duhail thus earned their first win over Sadd since the Emir’s Cup triumph last season. Coach Rui Faria felt it was well-deserved.

“These players know how to suffer silently against difficulties, and it’s their biggest strength. We missed key people against Sadd and lost our striker early in the game. But they endured and won. The feeling is special,” he said.

“We knew we were facing a difficult side, one that forms the basis of the national team. We had to be patient when they’d lose the ball and deadly accurate when we had it. The secret of today’s win was all about the team,” he added.

Sadd coach Xavi Hernandez was understandably disappointed.

“We played exceptionally well in the first 20 minutes. From then on, our intent and spirit dropped and we disappeared from the pitch. For some reason, we lost the will to fight. We can’t afford that attitude against a team like Duhail,” he said.

“I’ll talk to the players, figure out what went wrong and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he added.

Xavi may not have to search too hard for reasons. Sadd’s players have had a punishing schedule this season, with games in the AFC Champions League as well as national team duty.

The tiredness showed in their body language against Duhail. Had their opponents not proven wasteful in front of goal, the winning margin would have been even higher.

While Xavi goes back to the drawing board to try and lift the team’s morale, Faria will be hard at work to devise ways to keep the momentum going.

Meanwhile in the other game, Gharafa’s Sofiane Hanni scored a double (74th and 86th) against Khor, after Ahmed Alaaeldin had put them ahead in the 13th. Tiago Bezerra struck for Khor in the 69th.