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Tribune News Network
When in form any good team can be a threat to the very best. On the upswing Umm Salal showed just that on Thursday as they shocked Al Arani 2-0 for their third consecutive victory in the QNB Stars League.
Defender Abdulrahman Abakar opened the scoring in the 73rd minute before Ayman Hussein sealed the victory in the final minute of the game at the Grand Hamad Stadium.
Under Wesam Rizik, Umm Salal have been impressive as they moved to sixth in the table, just three points behind fourth-placed Al Gharafa.
It’s a huge blow for Al Arabi though, who could have moved to within six points of top spot. The Dream Team are third with 20 points, one ahead of Gharafa.
After a goalless first half, the match sprung to life late in the second half. Abakar headed Isael Barbosa cross from the right to give Umm Salal a deserving lead.
Arabi, who lacked energy on the night, attempted a comeback but without much success. Hussein then calmed the nerves in the Umm Salal camp as the striker beat Arabi goalkeeper Mahmoud Abunada with a header off an Ismail Dahqani cross from the right in the 90th minute.
In another match yesterday, Al Khor registered their first victory of the season after a 2-1 win over Qatar SC 2-1 at the Suhaim bin Hamad Stadium yesterday. Giannis Fetfatzidid (45+1 and 77th minutes) scored for Al Khor as The Knights moved on to seven points, just two behind ninth-placed Al Ahli.
Sebastian Soria pulled one back for Qatar SC in the 78th minute but The Kings could not find the equaliser. The Kings are at seventh placed on 12 points following their fifth defeat.
Al Khor, who had lost 0-3 to defending champions Al Sadd last week, seemed determined to put behind that disappointment and attacked from the start. Ahmed al-Mohannadi came close to scoring on two occasions. First, he sent his angular shot from close wide of the target in the 14th minute and then his shot in similar fashion was deflected out by Qatar SC defender Mohamed Salem in the 20th minute.
In contrast, Qatar SC were coming off their victory over Al Rayyan. Soria, who had netted their all-important goal against Rayyan, was their livewire in the first half, with Bashar Resan in supporting role. Soria too had a close call with the goal, but his shot was blocked by Al Khor goalkeeper Baba Djibril.
The first-half injury time saw brisk action. Qatar SC’s Eisa Ahmed’s attempt was deflected out. Soon, Al Khor took the lead off a counter-attack as Fetfa beat his marker Muataz Majed and goalkeeper Jassim al-Hail before sending his shot into the net.
Qatar SC were a resurgent lot in the second half. They brought in Anthony Okpotu and he created some waves at the rival goal. However, amid Qatar SC’s attacks, Al Khor doubled the lead, with Fetfa again finding the mark. This time, he only had to head into an almost open net off a cross from the left by Ismail Haddad.
Qatar SC were quick to respond and reduced the margin the next minute through Soria’s opportunistic goal, with Okpotu doing the spadework from the right.
Qatar SC pressed hard for an equaliser towards the end but in vain.
ResultscColor:> Umm Salal 2 (Abdulrahman Abaker 73’, Aymen Hussein 90’) bt Al Arabi 0
Al Khor 2 (Giannis Fetfatzidis 45+1’, 77’) bt Qatar SC 1
(Sebastian Soria 78’).
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