QNB Stars League Round 5 Match Report - Al Sadd 3 Al Arabi 1
Al Sadd made it five wins in a row when they got the better of hosts Al Arabi in their QNB Stars League Round 5 match, dubbed Qatar Derby, on Friday night.
In-form striker Baghdad Bounedjah opened Al Sadd’s scoring as early as the third minute by sending in a beaming shot. The Algerian seemed to have fully recovered from a nagging injury that kept him out of action in the first three rounds. He also proved how dangerous he could be if left unmarked in the area.
Defender Pedro Miguel made it 2-0 in the 25th minute off a cross from the right by Xavi, giving no chance to goalkeeper Muhannad Naim. Al Arabi reduced the margin in the 41st through Brazilian attacking midfielder Diego Jardel. Substitute Ali Assad completed The Wolves’ tally in the first of four-minute stoppage time.
In the much-hyped derby, Al Sadd were on the front foot right from the word go and play was mostly confined to the rival area initially. Baghdad was the spearhead, ably assisted by fellow-Algerian Jugurtha Hamroun and Qatar international Hassan Al Haidous, and then Xavi Hernandez and Boualem Khoukhi from the midfield. Khoukhi had a better game than he had against Qatar SC in the previous round.
Al Arabi fielded a host of players, like Khalfan Ibrahim and Hamed Ismail, who plied their trade with Al Sadd. Hamed made some darting runs along the right even as Syrian professional player Mardek Mardikian, as expected, was the liveliest among the Al Arabi ranks.
Khalfan tried his best to create space only to fail in breaching the Al Sadd defence. Al Arabi deserved credit for bringing out a spirited display.
The second session started at a fast pace, but real chances created by the teams were few and far between. Al Arabi’s Ahmed Fathi tested Saad Al Dossari at the goal around the hour mark with a long-ranger.
Al Sadd went slightly defensive as the game wore on. Hamroun was replaced Ali Assad in the 76th minute and Hatem Kamal substituted Khoukhi when the latter was stretchered off in the 85th.
Al Arabi almost equalised in the last minute, but Hamed’s power-packed shot was blocked by Saad. It was amid Al Arabi’s search for an equaliser that they conceded the third goal when Ali Assad combined with Baghdad off a counter-attack.
Al Sadd, who took their tally to 15 points, next play host to Al Rayyan while Al Arabi should have it relatively easy away at Al Ahli.