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Al Arabi’s Mohamed Malalla Al Kubaisi (left) plays the ball past Umm Salal’s Khalid Nooruldeen during their Qatar Stars League (QSL) match in Doha, yesterday. RIGHT: Al Kharaitiyat’s Alain Dioko Kaluyituka (right) and Lekhwiya SC’s Mohammed Moussa Ali vie for the ball during their QSL match played at the Al Khor Sports Club yesterday. Lekhwiya, the defending QSL champions won 1-0 to record their fourth straight win this season. PICTURES BY: ABDUL BASIT/SALIM MATRAMKOT
DOHA: Khalid Mufta scored the only goal of the match against Al Kharaitiyat to give Lekhwiya their fourth straight win in the Qatar Stars League (QSL), yesterday.
In other QSL matches yesterday, Umm Salal rallied from one-goal down to beat Al Arabi 3-1. The result leaves Hassan Shehata still waiting for a win since taking over as Al Arabi coach. In another match, Qatar SC edged Al Sailiyah 3-1.
Defending champions Lekhwiya started the match brightly, putting their opponents under pressure.
In the 9th minute, Al Kharaitiyat were reduced to ten-men, when Mehdi Khammassi brought down Ali Afif, who controlled Baba Malik’s long ball and raced past the defenders.
The dismissal angered Al Kharaitiyat’s coach Bernard Simondi on the sidelines.
As a result of the sending off, Nam Tae-Hee’s free-kick effort hit the post and the ball rebounded into the path of Mufta, who slotted the ball past Al Kharaitiyat goalkeeper Khalifa Ndiaye.
The visitors played short slick passes and pushed forward in the hope of scoring the second goal.
In the 39th minute Tae-Hee hit a long shot that was easily saved by Ndiaye.
Al Kharaitiyat tried to produce chances but could not break Lehwiya’s resistance, who were dominating in midfield.
Their best chance of the first half came in the 44th minute, when Kebe Yahia blazed his shot high above Lekhwiya’s goalkeeper Malik.
In the second half, Simondi’s side had a goal ruled out for off-side, but nearly equalised early in the second half.
Minutes later, Abdullah saw his effort go wide of the post after a crisp cross by Abdallah Al Battat.
Despite Lekhwiya’s attempts to add to their goal tally, the home side found their rhythm and Yahia Kebe’s shot was well saved by Malik in the 70th minute.
In the 81st minute, Sebastian Soria nearly doubled his side’s lead. The Qatari stirker got in front of his opponent and headed the ball that went inches past the post.
Elsewhere, Al Arabi’s Nasser Al Khalfan opened the proceedings with a strong header that looped over Umm Salal’s goalkeeper Mohammed Aneas in the 39th minute.
The goal gave Umm Salal a wake-up call, and a minute later, Al Arabi survived a scare as Said Boutaher nearly equalised for the home side.
Early in the second half, Umm Salal got their reward, when Boutaher equalised in the 50th minute.
Shehata’s side were nearly 2-1 behind when Umm Sala exposed Al Arabi’s defence but Boutaher was unable to convert his chance.
Al Arabi were unable to cope with the home side’s threat especially on the wings with Mahir Bakr always a danger when he received the ball.
Mohamady Yasser grabbed Umm Salal’s second with a wonderful goal.
The midfielder struck the ball from outside the penalty area which gave Al Arabi goalkeeper Rabjab Kassim no chance.
Umm Salal made sure of the points when Bakr scored the team’s third goal.