Spirited Al Duhail down Al Markhiya; Al Ahli win

 03 Dec 2017 - 11:30

Spirited Al Duhail down  Al Markhiya; Al Ahli win
Al Ahli and Al Sailiya players vie for the ball possession during their QNB Stars League match played at Hamad bin Khalifa Stadium yesterday. A late strike by forward Maged Hassan in the second half did the trick for Al Ahli as the home team beat Al Sailiya 2-1 for their third win of the season. Pic: Abdul Basit / The Peninsula

By Rizwan Rehmat / The Peninsula

After a spirited fight on home soil, points leaders Al Duhail yesterday beat Al Markhiya 2-1 to retain their top position on the QNB Stars League standings.

First-half goals by Youssef Msakni (9) and Nam Tae-Hee (43) powered the former champions to another three points in the round 10 clash played at Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium, the home turf of Al Duhail.

Al Markhiya’s midfielder Saleh Al Yazidi (15) scored the only goal of the match for the visitors who challenged a strong Al Duhail side with courage in the second half.

It was Al Duhail’s ninth win of the season.

In another match yesterday, Al Ahli beat Al Sailiya 2-1 for their third win of the season. A late strike by forward Maged Hassan in the second half did the trick for Al Ahli who battled hard on home soil.

Striker Hassan supplemented the effort of team mate Mohammed Muntari who had scored Al Ahli’s first goal in the 24th minute at Hamad bin Khalifa Stadium. For Al Sailiya, Valentin Lazar found the net in the 21st minute.

Earlier in the day, title favourites Al Duhail opened the scoring through Msakni who fired one home after a bit of a cameo run in the 9th minute.

The 27-year-old winger charged into the Al Markhiya box, slipped past three defenders before firing a low shot past goalkeeper Mohammed Khuroob who dived to his right but failed to stop the ball.

It was captain Msakni’s ninth goal of the season.

Six minutes later, feared striker Youssef El Arabi slipped in a neat cross from the flank but Msakni’s snap-header did not have the pace to beat goalkeeper Khuroon.

A minute later Al Markhiya midfielder Al Yazidi equalized with a slick close-range flick that crashed into the Al Duhail net much to the horror of Al Duhail coach Djamel Belmadi.

Close to the half-hour mark, Al Markhiya’s Talal Ali got booked with a yellow for bring down Lucas Mendes of Al Duhail. In the 34th minute, high-scoring striker Youssef El Arabi headed home from close range but the linesman declared the effort off-side.

Al Duhail skipper Youssef Msakni  (right) and Nam Tae-Hee (left) celebrate after the latter scored their second goal against Al Markhiya during their QNB Stars League match played at Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium yesterday.

Two minutes from the first-half whistle, Korean star Tae-Hee easily slotted one home from inside the Al Markhiya box following a 1-2 with a team mate close to the visitors’ box.

Both teams traded attacks in the second half but neither side could find the net as the hosts picked up three valuable points in their title chase.

For the home side, there was a minor hiccup when captain Msakni was booked with a yellow card for time wasting in injury time.

Later, in an explosive start to the game at Hamad bin Khalifa Stadium, Al Sailiya’s Temurkhuja Abdukholiqov smashed a powerful shot on to the Al Ahli crossbar just in the second minute of the match.

Standing unmarked near the edge of the box, the Uzbek forward unleashed a powerful shot that ricocheted off the crossbar much to the relief in the Al Ahli camp.

A minute later, Al Ahli’s Colombian import Cristian Nazarit weaved his way into the Al Sailiya box with a slick move but his narrow-angle shot from close range was smartly blocked by goalkeeper Mahamat Aziz who had charged out of his position on the goal-line.

In the 21st minute, visitors Al Sailiya opened the scoring through a solo Lazar move. The 28-year-old Romanian midfielder - under pressure from Al Ahli’s Khalil Sharief - charged towards the goal.

Defender Sherief could not maintain his balance and tripped but Lazar inched closer to the goalmouth where ‘keeper Naim Hussein blocked the first shot. Lazar quickly picked up the lose ball and tapped the ball into the net on his second attempt. It was his fourth goal of the season.

Three minutes later, Al Ahli striker Muntari raced into the Al Sailiya box and beat the goalkeeper on his first attempt following a long ball from the midfield that landed perfectly in front of the Qatari forward.

Late in the second half, Hassan chose the perfect moment to score the season’s first goal, beating Al Sailiya defender Mohammed Mustafa before calmly slotting the ball past goalkeeper Aziz with a low shot.