Doha, Qatar: Yacine Brahimi scored two goals including a last-gasp winner as Al Gharafa rallied to edge 10-man Al Duhail 3-2 in an Expo Stars League (ESL) thriller at Al Bayt Stadium yesterday.
The Al Gharafa captain picked a fine ball from Lyanco that cleared three defenders to fire the ball past goalkeeper Salah Zakaria in 10th minute of stoppage time inflicting first defeat of the season on the defending champions. The Cheetahs climbed to second in the ESL standings after third win from four games.
Yesterday, Al Duhail went ahead after Qatar striker Mohammed Muntari volleyed in a Sultan Al Brake cross from close range in 41st minute but Al Gharafa levelled the score soon after the half-time with a superb Brahimi effort. The Algerian forward slotted the ball on the top of left corner with an unstoppable free kick from five yards outside the box.
After Al Duhail were reduced to 10 men following a red card to Ruben Semedo in 65th minute, Brahimi played a role in Al Gharafa’s second goal also as Yohan Boli just needed to head the ball into an open goal after his 76th free kick from almost the similar position was rebounded following Zakaria’s save.
Striker Almoez Ali brought Al Duhail back into the match in fifth minute of stoppage time hitting the ball through goalkeeper Yousof Hassan’s legs after defying two defenders, before Brahimi sealed victory for Al Gharafa.
“It’s an amazing win and the good thing is that we never give up. It was a difficult match even Al Duhail were down to 10 players,” Boli said in a post match interview.
“Now we will have rest before start preparing for another big match against Al Sadd [on Thursday],” he added.
The Cheetahs, who are now on 10 points, pushed Al Sadd to third in the points table on basis of better scoring rate.
Meanwhile, Al Wakrah jumped to fourth with 8 points after blanking Al Markhiya 3-0 at Al Janoub Stadium.
Hamdi Fathi struck in 10th minute to give Al Wakrah an early lead with striker Gelson Dala doubling the advantage in 55th minute. Yousef Tarek wrapped up a dominant win for the Blue Waves two minutes before time.
At Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium yesterday, Ricardo Gomes scored in third minute of stoppage time as Al Shamal snatched a point from Muaither after a 2-2 draw.
After a goalless first half, Muaither’s Guy Mbenza broke the deadlock in 59th minute with Mohamed Rafik scoring the equaliser for Al Shamal in 69th minute.
Muaither regained the lead through Andri Syahputra six minutes before time but they had to settle for a point after Gomes’ late strike.
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