Umm Salal snatch a point against Al Rayyan
Harbaoui sparkles with a brace as Al Arabi power past Al Ahli in Qatar Stars League
Umm Salal earned just reward for some pleasing play as they held Al Rayyan 2-2 while Al Arabi outwitted Al Ahli 3-1 in two engrossing fixtures of the Qatar Stars League on Friday.
At the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium, it was a clear setback for Al Rayyan, who were hoping to make a strong beginning against the ninth-placed team of last season. Fourth last year, Rayyan were kept on a leash by Umm Salal for most part with their nice passing game and tight defence.
Mahmoud Kamal Al Mawas was the star of the Umm Salal show with two goals while Lee Jae-Ik and Rodrigo Tabata netted the goals for Al Rayyan, with a goalkeeping blunder being responsible for their second goal.
Fans turned up in large numbers to cheer Rayyan and they were in for some early shock when Al Mawas breached their citadel with a brilliant shot after being put through by captain Yannick Latte in the 6thminute. But they were at ease two minutes later when Lee got a touch to a freekick by Abdelaziz Mohammed on the left, beating Yazan Naim Sheikh in the Umm Salal goal.
Undettered, Umm Salal kept picking gaps in the Rayyan defence with their neat passing game, as Latte and Victor Solsona fuelled Al Mawas’ enthusiasm upfront. But Rayyan got a lucky breakthrough in the 31stminute when Naim Sheikh completely misjudged Tabata’s free-kick from the left and allowed the ball to go in.
Umm Salal took time to recover from that setback but they largely controlled play in the second half, smothering Rayyan’s attacks with some solid defensive work.
Rayyan were then taken aback when a long ball by Adil Rhailli from the centre broke open their defence in the 71stminute. Running in, Al Mawas trapped the ball beautifully and placed it past goalkeeper Fahad Younis Baker to silence the Rayyan supporters.
Some good attacking football and excellent goals marked Al Arabi’s win over Al Ahli at the Al Janoub Stadium. Arabi were the better of the two sides by a good margin and turned that dominance into goals that mattered in the second half, after a 1-1 show at half-time.
Hamdi Harbaoui, served with a measured cross from Yusuf Abdurisag on the right, was totally unmarked as he headed in Arabi’s first goal in the 23rdminute. But Al Ahli were level 12 minutes later, with a beautiful goal from Hernan Perez. Taking control of a crossfield ball on the left, Perez dribbled up nicely into the penalty area before burying his shot into the far post.
Six minutes into the second half, Pierre Lasogga struck Arabi’s second goal, rising high in the penalty area to deliver a powerful header past Al Ahli goalkeeper Ivanildo Rodrigues. Hamdi then showed his opportunism to snatch the third goal in the 68th. Rodrigues failed to gather a cross cleanly and the striker applied the finishing touch with a cheeky backheel, much to the delight of Al Arabi supporters who had travelled all the way to Al Wakrah.