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Nov 26 - Dec 8, 2019
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Unfancied Al Khor hold Al Sailiya

Big teams continue to find the going tough in Qatar Stars League; Al Gharafa moves past Al Shahania
Al Sailiya Goalkeeper Khalifa Ndiaye Foils An Attempt By Al Khor Forwards In The Qatar Stars League On Thursday
Al Sailiya goalkeeper Khalifa Ndiaye foils an attempt by Al Khor forwards in the Qatar Stars League on Thursday.IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

Unfancied Al Khor opened a bag of surprises to hold Al Sailiya 1-1 on Thursday as big teams continued to find the going tough in the Qatar Stars League.

After the opening day when Al Sadd and Duhail Sports Club posted hard-fought wins over gritty opposition, it was the turn of Sailiya to encounter a determined customer in their first game.
The third-placed team from the last edition had to overcome some anxious moments before they ensured a point at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium. Al Khor, tenth last season, indeed were the happier of the two teams, as two penalties, one for each team, dictated the scoreline.

Mahir Yusuf Issa (left) Of Al Sailiya And Robert Meki Of Al Khor Vie For Possession
Mahir Yusuf Issa (left) of Al Sailiya and Robert Meki of Al Khor vie for possession.IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

Karim Ansari scored the first goal for Sailiya in the 19thminute to peg back Al Khor while Tiago Bezerra equalised through another spot-kick in the 38thminute.

With a clutch of new players, the Omar Najhi-coached outfit stretched the Sailiya defence. Their physical superiority was obvious as Bezerra, Ahmed Hammoudan and Ibrahim Amada imposed themselves on the opposition. But their momentum was snapped when Khaled Hassan stamped on an advancing Abdulqadir Adam inside the penalty area, prompting referee Khamis Al-Marri to consult VAR and award a penalty to Sailiya.

Ansari’s clinical finish was the tonic Sailiya needed. Through sheer will they kept the bounding Khor forwards at bay but a swift counterattack caught them off-guard. Wagner Dos Santos’ crossfield ball found Hammoudan on the left but he was fouled by Ahmed Al-Menhali. Al-Marri blew for his second penalty of the match and Bezerra’s power proved a bit too much for Sailiya goalkeeper Khalifa Nidaye.

Try as the teams did, they could not break the deadlock in a bruising physical battle in the remaining period. Khor continued to threaten but Sailiya was up to the task at the back, luck also coming to their aid at times.

Al Gharafa start with win

Al Gharafa took time to find their attacking rhythm going before handing a 3-0 defeat to Al Shahania in the first match of the evening at the Al Janoub Stadium.

Gharafa had the match in control right through but could not convert their dominance into goals. In fact, Shahania did not have a single shot on goal in the first half, revealing the Cheetahs’ dominance. But they were found wanting when it came to the final pass. In the Shahania goal, Khalifa Al Dossari also produced some smart saves to keep the scoreline blank at half-time.

Gharafa finally found the breakthrough in the 64thminute when Ahmed Alaaeldin found the net off a pass from Sofianne Hanni. The provider turned the finisher eight minutes later, with Hanni beating Al Dossari with a nice flick. Alaaeldin gave a healthy ring to the scoreline with his second goal in injury time.