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Qatar tribune

Tribune News Network

Doha

Al Gharafa secured their place in the semi-finals of the Amir Cup after an exhilarating 4-2 victory over Umm Salal at the Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium on Tuesday.

Yacine Brahimi starred with a brace for Gharafa, while Farid Boulaya and Lyanco found the net once each. Lucas Joao and Abdullah Al Yafei were on the score sheet for Umm Salal, who had to play with 10 men for more than 20 minutes after Ali Afif was shown a red card.

In the semi-finals, Gharafa will face Qatar SC, who secured their passage after a penalty shootout 5-4 win over Al Rayyan at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium. The match ended 3-3 at regulation time, and it ended 4-4 in the extra time after both teams scored a goal each. In the shootout, Rayyan’s Roger Guedes missed the first penalty and it proved decisive in the end as none of the Qatar SC players were off target.

Earlier, Rayyan had fought back from a two-goal deficit. Qatar SC were sitting pretty at half time after Ibrahim Majid’s 15th minute strike and Yohan Boli’s 38th minute goal had given them a two goal lead.

But Rayyan were right back in the game after the restart through Guedes, while Rodrigo Moreno equalised in the 66th minute.

Bruno Tabata then seemed to have scored the winner for Qatar SC, when he converted a penalty in the fifth minute of stoppage time but five minutes later Sofiane Boufal equalised again for Rayyan.

In the extra time, Rayyan went ahead after Qatar SC’s defender Javi Martinez inadvertently scored an own goal, but the game went to penalties afterTabata scored in the 117th minute.

Earlier, Gharafa had wasted no time in opening the scoring, as Boulaya found the back of the net in the third minute with a powerful strike from the edge of the penalty area that rebounded off the left post and into the goal.

Umm Salal thought they had a chance to equalise just four minutes later when referee Nayef Al Qadiri awarded them a penalty after goalkeeper Khalifa Ababacar’s challenge on striker Lucas Eduardo. However, after consulting the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), the decision was overturned, much to Umm Salal’s frustration.

Despite Umm Salal’s attempts to regain control of the game, they struggled to penetrate Gharafa’s solid defence. Meanwhile, Gharafa continued to press forward, with captain Brahimi coming close to doubling their lead with a powerful shot that struck the crossbar.

Just before halftime, Gharafa extended their lead when Brahimi’s corner was met by Lyanco, who rose above the Umm Salal defense to head the ball into the back of the net. Initially, the referee disallowed the goal, citing a foul by Lyanco on Umm Salal defender Marwan Loudani. However, after a VAR review, the decision was overturned, and the goal stood.

In the 52nd minute, VAR once again played a crucial role in the match, this time overturning the referee’s decision to award Umm Salal a penalty. Gharafa capitalised on their momentum and added a third goal in the 68th minute, with Brahimi finding the back of the net after a well-executed pass from Ahmed Alaa.

Despite being three goals down, Umm Salal refused to give up and managed to pull one back in the 74th minute through Lucas Eduardo, who capitalised on a mistake by goalkeeper Ababacar. VAR intervened once again in the 80th minute, awarding Umm Salal a goal scored by Joel Kenji.

Umm Salal’s hopes were further dampened when they were reduced to ten men following the expulsion of substitute Ali Afif. However, they continued to fight until the final whistle and managed to score a second goal in stoppage time through Abdullah Khaled.

But it was too little, too late for Umm Salal, as Brahimi sealed Gharafa’s victory in the 14th minute of stoppage time with a clinical finish inside the penalty area.

Gharafa’s Homam Al Amin praised Umm Salal for their resilience. “Umm Salal were tough and they fought until the end even with 10 men. We are happy to clear the hurdle and now we will focus on the semi-final,” said Al Amin.

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15/05/2024
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