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Lekhwiya’s Luiz Mairton Junior (left) and Al Kharaitiyat’s Alain Dioko Kaluyituka vie for the ball during their Qatar Stars League clash at Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Stadium yesterday. RIGHT: Al Gharafa forward Alex Rafael shoots to score the first goal of the match in the QSL match against Al Rayyan at Al Gharafa Stadium Doha yesterday.
DOHA: Lekhwiya’s title bid suffered a huge blow when the defending Qatar Stars League (QSL) champions lost 1-0 to Al Kharaitiyat yesterday.
With Al Sadd dropping points to Al Khor on Sunday, Lekhwiya coached by Eric Gerets, failed to take advantage.
Lekhwiya remain five points behind the QSL points leaders with only three matches left to play.
Al Kharaitiyat’s Abdulaziz Al Ansari scored the only goal of the match in the 27th minute in what was a hard-fought victory for the visitors.
In other QSL matches yesterday, Al Gharafa’s Alex Rafael and Fuhaid Al Shammeri scored to help their side beat Al Rayyan 2-1.
In another match played yesterday, Said Boutahir scored a late winner in Umm Salal’s 1-0 win over Al Arabi.
In a highly entertaining encounter at the Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Stadium, both sides created chances.
Al Kharaitiyat, who occupied tenth position before the match started, stunned the home side in the first half.
On the edge of the penalty box, Al Ansari curled a shot past Lekhwiya goalkeeper Baba Malik. With the score 1-0 to the visitors, Lekhwiya dominated the second half in the hope of finding the crucial equaliser.
However, Al Kharaitiyat’s defenders stood firm and defended well as a unit, clearing the ball off the goal-line as well as making last-ditch tackles.
Al Kharaitiyat continued to press forward despite Lekhwiya’s attacking threats but held on for a crucial victory.
The result leaves Lekhwiya in second place, with 39 points two points clear of third-place Eljaish.
Al Kharaitiyat moves up to ninth position following yesterday’s win.
Elsewhere, Al Gharafa got back to winning ways in what was their fifth victory in ten matches.
Al Rayyan, who were in good form prior to the match, could not find the equaliser after Ahmed Alaaeldin gave the visitors somehope six minutes from time.
The result leaves Al Gharafa in fifth place with a tally of 27 points. Yesterday’s defeat for Al Rayyan leaves last season’s Heir Apparent Cup winners in fourth place with 33 points.
Al Arabi are in 11th position with 16 points, while Umm Salal are seventh with a points tally of 25.
QSL action will resume on March 29. THE PENINSULA