Doha, 29 December 2020 - Qatar Sports Club delivered on what they promised, after holding QNB Stars League leaders Al Sadd to a 1-1 draw at the Suheim bin Hamad Stadium yesterday. On the eve of the match, Qatar SC coach Younis Ali had said it was not an impossible feat to beat Al Sadd.
While they fell short of their main objective yesterday, the Kings’ showed enough resilience to hold Al Sadd, by no means a small achievement. Despite dropping two points though, the unbeaten Sadd lead the table with 29 points, seven ahead of Al Gharafa. Qatar SC, who came into the match with five consecutive wins, are fourth with 19 points as the league reached the halfway stage.
Anthony Okpotu put Qatar SC ahead in the 31st minute, but Santi Cazorla drew parity for Al Sadd in the 42nd minute with a penalty.
Both teams went into the match in great form, having won their last few matches in succession. Qatar SC had completed their fifth consecutive victory, whereas Al Sadd were fresh from their Qatar Clasico victory over Al Rayyan.
Al Sadd attacked from the beginning, with the likes of Baghdad Bounedjah, Nam Tae-Hee and Abdelkarim Hassan raiding the rival citadel time and again, giving Qatar SC goalkeeper Jassim al-Hail a harrowing time.
However, it was Qatar SC who took the lead against the run of play when Okpotu took advantage of a defensive mistake committed by Tareq Salman. Okpotu tested goalkeeper Meshaal Barsham again in the 37th minute.
Al Sadd equalised when Cazorla converted a penalty awarded after Qatar SC’s Ali Karimi brought down Bounedjah. Al Sadd had much more of the ball, but the teams took the half-time break with a 1-1 scoreline.
Qatar SC’s substitute Eisa Ahmed had a chance to give his side the lead a second time, but his shot was blocked by the goalkeeper in the 80th minute. Soon, Bounedjah shot wide of the target and Cazorla too hit wide, in the 90th minute, as the deadlock continued.
Earlier, Al Gharafa drew 1-1 with Umm Salal but it was enough for the Cheetah’s to reclaim the second spot. They are now on 22 points, one ahead of reigning champions Al Duhail.
Sofiane Hanni opened the scoring for Al Gharafa by converting a penalty in the 12th minute, while Kayke Rodrigues equalised for Umm Salal in the next minute of the hard-fought match. Umm Salal stay 10th with 10 points.
Jonathan Kodjia, who dominated throughout the match, fired a bullet from close range in the sixth minute, but his shot was blocked by keeper Baba Malick. Kodjia managed a repeat attack in the ninth minute and this time his shot went to the left of keeper Malick.
Al Gharafa opened the scoring off a penalty. Ahmed Alaaeldin charged towards the Umm Salal box despite being under pressure from Aymen Abdennour. Just as he entered the box, Umm Salal keeper Malick stepped out and produced a sliding tackle that brought down Alaaeldin. The referee pointed to the spot and Hanni converted the penalty. Pat came Umm Salal’s reply. Adel Alawi clipped in a neat cross for Rodrigues who arrived with perfect timing to deflect the ball on the volley from close range as Umm Salal fans celebrated the equaliser.
In the 80th minute, Umm Salal were reduced to 10 men when Ismail Ebrahim brought down Homam with a rough tackle. It was Ismail’s second yellow of the match – he had received his first in the 58th minute.
On the resultant free-kick, Homam curled in a long-range shot that got a thin deflection from Kodjia, who jumped high inside the Umm Salal box. The deflection slipped past the goalpost to the left of keeper Malick.
In another match, Al Wakrah beat Al Kharaitiyat 2-1 to climb to seventh in the table. Ousmane Coulibaly (43rd minute) and Jassim Ali al-Hashimi (90th minute) scored the goals for Al Wakrah as The Blue Wave now have 13 points. Al Kharaitiyat’s only goal was scored by Mahmoud Saad in the 21st minute. The Thunders are at the bottom with six points.
Qatar SC’s Anthony Okpotu (right) celebrates after scoring against Al Sadd in the QNB Stars League at the Suheim bin Hamad Stadium yesterday.