QNB Stars League Week 18 — Al Markhiya 3 Al Gharafa 2

Al Markhiya bounced back brilliantly from a two-goal deficit to defeat Al Gharafa 3-2 in Week 18 of the QNB Stars League at the Al Arabi Stadium on Saturday.

Al Gharafa went 2-0 up by the 23rd minute through goals from Wesley Sneijder. The Dutch star first found the target in the 16th minute after linking up with Iranian striker Mehdi Taremi.

Sneijder’s second came through a penalty that was awarded after Al Markhiya goalkeeper Mohamed Muntazar tripped Taremi while attempting to collect the ball.

Brazilian striker Eric de Oliveira’s two-goal blitz (61st and 64th) turned the tide of the match in Al Markhiya’s favour. Abdelqadir Ilyas (27th) scored their other goal.

It was Al Markhiya’s only second victory this season. They now have 12 points, but are still at the bottom of the table. Al Gharafa remained sixth on 23 points.

Al Gharafa dominated the early exchanges and were rewarded by two goals. Sneijder had a chance in the sixth minute, but he skied his shot after being fed by Ahmed Alaaeldin.

However, The Cheetahs faded out as the game progressed and The Oryxes grew in confidence.

Al Markhiya fought as if they were battling for their life. Indeed, it was.

De Oliveira’s goals came after one hour. The first was an opportunistic strike and the second came off a long free-kick that landed in the corner of the net.

Alaaeldin soon had an opportunity to level the score, but he headed against the body of Muntazar.

The last minutes saw hectic action at both ends. Abdelqadir had his shot saved by Al Gharafa’s Brazilian midfielder Diego Amado, whereas Muntazar came up with yet another brilliant save to thwart Abdelaziz Hatem.