Lekhwiya wins QSL title again
DOHA LEKHWIYA bagged its second consecutive Qatar Stars League title after it was held to 1-1 draw by Al Arabi on Sunday.
Lekhwiya’s Ali Afif’s thirdminute goal was cancelled by Abdulaziz Hatem in the 83rd minute to deny the QSL champions a victory at Al Arabi Stadium. The draw increased Lekhwiya’s points tally to an unassailable 42 points from 20 matches with two games to spare.
Lehwiya’s coach Djamel Belmadi joined his players and staff in celebration after the match. He said, “It was a special game for us. We were playing for the title and didn’t want to wait till the last game. I want to say thank my all the players, administrators and technical staff for winning the league title for a second time.
“We have got the main trophy of the season. Now for sure, we’ll try to win other titles. The secret of our success is the hard work, team spirit of the players and strong belief in the technical crew. We instilled discipline and professionalism into the team.” Former Rangers of Scotland defender Madjid Bougherra said, “It was a difficult match but I’m happy that we won the trophy. It’s a big family set up in the team - we have a great coach, technical staff and team officials.” “I wish to congratulate the fans for their support,” Bougherra added.
Algerian Bougherra who made 113 appearances for Rangers and was an integral part of the team that won the Scottish Premier League championship in seasons 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11.
“I am happy to win my first trophy in Qatar. But winning a league trophy in Qatar or Scotland is the same,” Bougherra added.
Lekhwiya captain Bakari Kone was full of praise for his teammates and management of the team another league crown. “We are happy for the support we received from the management and technical staff which in no small way contributed to our success.” It was cagey affair in the opening minutes before Moumouni Dagano’s pass exposed Arabi’s defence with Waleed Mohiuddin and Abdullah Marafee out of space.
This created a chance for Afif to run deep and fire a low shot that beat Rajab Hamza Qassim.
After the strike, both sides played cautiously and goal-scoring opportunities were limited.
Arabi introduced Djako Arafat after half an hour to substitute Ali Mejbel. The first half ended with Lekhwiya having more of the ball possession but good defending by Hadi Aghily thwarted most of Dagano’s moves.
Arabi was a better side in the opening 10 minutes of the second half with Leonardo Pisculichi coming up with a blinder that rattled Baba Malick. Mohammed Salem also had a fierce attempt from the right side of the Lekhwiya defence that forced Malick to effect a save at the expense of a corner kick.
Lekhwiya introduced Mohammed Razak for Dagano in the 58h minute with the former showing signs of picking an injury after an aerial battle with Aghily.
Scottish referee Thomas Craig flashed six yellow cards, four for Arabi and two for Lekhwiya.
El Jaish, with 35 points, produced a magnificent show to trounce once-mighty Gharafa 4-1 to cement its second spot on the QSL table. Two classy goals from Abdul Qader Elyass in the 23rd and 62nd minutes were followed by one goal each from Wagney Reynar in the 68th and Naif al Khater in the 83rd minute to complete thrash the former champion.
Gharafa’s only goal was scored Aruna Dindane in the 33rd minute.
Two goals from Jayce John for Al Kharaityat in a 2-1 victory against Umm Salal guaranteed it would play in the QSL next season too.