QNB Stars League Week 12 — Al Ahli 1 Al Gharafa 2
Al Gharafa registered a 2-1 victory over hosts Al Ahli in Week 12 of the QNB Stars League on Friday.
Ahmed Alaeldin (58th and 70th minutes) scored for Al Gharafa after Yassine Chikhaoui gave Al Ahli the lead in the 16th.
The two-goal effort underlined the sheer brilliance of Alaeldin.
Al Gharafa, under new coach Bulent Uygun, went on attacking mode right from the word go. They created chance after chance, with new recruit and Dutch attacking midfielder Wesley Sneijder being at the centre of the moves.
But Al Ahli, also playing their first match under Spaniard George Jorje, went ahead against the run of play when Tunisian midfielder Chikhaoui volleyed the ball home after a faulty clearance following a free-kick from the left by Mohsin Hassan. That was Al Ahli’s first real chance in the game.
Al Gharafa striker Abdulaziz Hatem soon fumbled a couple of chances. First, he shot straight to goalkeeper Yazan Naim and then hit the ball over the bar when unchallenged.
Chikhaoui again wreaked havoc in the rival area off a counter-attack only to see captain Meshaal Abdullah answering his hard work with a feeble shot that was too easy for Al Gharafa goalkeeper Qasim Burhan to stop.
Al Gharafa pressed hard and kept creating opportunities, while Al Ahli played a charging game. Sneijder had a free-kick saved by Yazan at the stroke of half-time.
The second half started and Al Ahli saw a chance go to waste when Ali Qadri shot against the body of Burhan after being set up by Mohammed Muntari, on loan from Al Duhail.
Al Graham did not have to wait for long to be on level terms when Alaeldin, a huge bundle of talent and energy, placed the ball home after trapping it nicely off a cross from Othman Al Yahri from the right.
An unmarked Alaeldin struck again 12 minutes later, this time sending a first-time shot off a cross from the right by captain Luis Jimenez.
The following minutes saw a marauding Cheetahs give Yazan a tough time. But then Al Ahli too had their share of chances even as the rivals continued to enjoy more possession.
As the match wore on, Chikhaoui pulled the strings as Al Ahli did everything to earn an equaliser, the closest being substitute Majed Mohammed’s rising shot hitting the horizontal before flying over.