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Nov 26 - Dec 8, 2019
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Muntari double helps Duhail battle past Al Wakrah

Red Knights notch second win to move to fourth place while Al Rayyan taste first win.
Duhail Scs Mohammed Muntari Celebrates After Scoring His Teams Second Goal Against Al Wakra Sc
Duhail SC’s Mohammed Muntari celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal against Al Wakra SC in their QSL match at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium on Sunday. IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

Muhammed Muntari’s sharpness in front of the goal came in handy for Duhail Sports Club as they battled hard to force a 4-2 win against Al Wakrah in the Qatar Stars League on Saturday.

Muntari netted two timely goals to help his struggling team to get back to winning ways at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium, after two successive draws had halted their momentum.

Barring a period of lull in the first half, Wakrah tested Duhail to the hilt and it did seem at times that the Red Knights would drop another point. But the goals would not come Wakrah’s way and they slipped to their second defeat.

At the end of the fourth round, Al Arabi and Al Gharafa occupy the first two positions with 10 points each while champions Al Sadd are just behind on nine, with a game in hand. Duhail surged to fourth position with eight points after an important win that required much hard work.

Duhail Scs Mohammed Muntari And Almoez Ali In Action Against Al Wakrah
Duhail SC’s Mohammed Muntari (left) and Almoez Ali in action against Al Wakrah. IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

Last season’s runners-up had been racked by injuries to key players and on Saturday they took the field without Edmilson, who reported sick. With Yousuf Msakni also on the injured list, there wasn’t much fluency in their attacks.

Wakrah delivered an early blow to Rui Faria’s men when they went ahead in the third minute itself, with Mohamed Benyettou heading in Ali Karami’s cross from the right. The promoted outfit, however, instead of seizing the advantage, played without much purpose, allowing Duhail to get a toehold on the match.

Duhails Almoez Ali Strikes A Penalty Against Al Wakrah
Duhail’s Almoez Ali strikes a penalty against Al Wakrah. IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

Almoez Ali’s enterprise then allowed Duhail to break open the Wakrah defence. The Qatari international slalomed his way ahead and set up Ismail Mohamed whose shot was blocked by Saoud Al Khater in the Wakrah goal. Ali Afif smartly drilled in the rebound for the equaliser in the 24th minute.

Duhail then took the lead in 36th minute thanks to some slack defending on Wakrah’s part. Luiz Martin was allowed to barge in on the right following an Ismail throw in and the Duhail midfielder’s cross was banged in by Muntari to calm his team’s nerves before half-time.

Wakrah came out with renewed vigour in the second half. Substitute Omar Ali tested Claude Amin Lecomte with a long-ranger before Ismail Mahmoud netted the equaliser in the 49th. Omar started off the attack with a pass to Cristian Prieto on the left and the latter’s cross was steered home in style by Ismail in the middle.

Wakrah kept pressing, but they were caught on the counter in the 65th minute when Luis Martin surged ahead and rolled the ball forward for Ismail. Jasim Al Hashmi could not cut it off cleanly, allowing Ismail to find Muntari on top of the penalty area. The tall striker’s first-time shot was firm and on target. Wakrah’s substitute goalkeeper Hassan Idriss, who came in for an injured Al Khater, had no chance.

Duhail then got the insurance goal in the final minute, when Almoez, challenged by Ousmane Coulibaly, took a tumble inside the area. Referee Khamis Al Marri blew for a penalty and Almoez himself converted it, to give a convincing look to the scoreline.

Elsewhere, Al Rayyan made a big move up the table, thanks to their 2-0 win over Al Khor in the first game of the day at the Al Janoub Stadium in Wakrah.

After drawing all their three matches, Rayyan were under pressure to deliver. A goalless first half was not to their liking, but in the second Franck Kom got them going with a 66th-minute goal.

Khor were reduced to 10 men in the 70th minute, with Wagner Ferreira receiving a red card from referee Abdulrahman Al Jassim. Adding to Khor’s woes, their goal fell again four minutes later, Abdulaziz Hatem doing the damage this time.

Hatem, gaining the ball from Yacine Brahimi just outside the penalty area on the left, slotted the ball in with a crisp, clean shot.

Rayyan are now on six points while Khor remain on four, unable to build on their early promise.