Doha, 29 October 2023 - Al Gharafa came from two goals down to defeat Al Rayyan 4-3 in Week 7 of the 2023-2024 season Expo Stars League at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium of Al Rayyan club.
Yacine Brahimi scored a brace (44th minute penalty and 61st minute), while Yohan Boli (50th minute) and Farid Boulaya (90+5 minute) were also on target for the winners.
Al Rayyan’s goals were scored by Rodrigo Moreno (ninth minute), Achraf Bencharki (20th minute) and Rodrigo Tabata (86th minute).
With the result, Al Rayyan remained on 15 points, while Al Gharafa now have 16 points.
As expected, league leaders Al Rayyan were in attack mode right from the blast of the opening whistle, and as proof of their determination to register an early goal, forward Bencharki was shown a yellow card in the second minute of play for a foul on Al Gharafa’s Homam Al Ameen.
Seven minutes later, former Leeds United forward Moreno opened the scoring for Al Rayyan with a fine header from very close range to the high centre of the goal following a sublime corner kick from Bassam Al Rawi.
In the 20th minute, Bencharki registered his presence on the scorers sheet with a well-taken left-footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner to make it 2-0 for Al Rayyan.
With two goals down and defeat staring them in the face, Al Gharafa woke up to reality and the team seemed to be playing with more cohesion and determination. Boulaya saw his right-footed shot from the right side of the box that was aiming for the target blocked in the 22nd minute.
Al Gharafa continued to mount pressure in a bid to cut the deficit and their hard work paid off in the 41st minute when Al Rayyan’s Shogo Taniguchi conceded a penalty following a handball in their penalty area in the 41st minute, which Al Gharafa’s arrowhead in attack Brahimi wasted no time in converting with a right-footed shot to the bottom right corner in the 44th minute.
Yohan Boli scored his fourth goal of the season to restore parity for Al Gharafa in the 50th minute with a bouncing shot in the 18-yard box that deceived Al Rayyan goalkeeper Fahad Younes, as the ball seemed to be heading over the bar before somehow heading into the top right-hand corner, following an assist from Boulaya.
Brahimi got Al Gharafa ahead with his second of the night in the 61st minute after coolly finishing an overlapping run inside Al Rayyan’s 18-yard box from a well-timed pass by Ferjani Sassi to make it 3-2 for The Cheetahs.
Al Rayyan’s efforts for equaliser were rewarded in the 86th minute when Tabata wriggled his way away from Al Gharafa’s defence following a one-two pass between him and Moreno to poke in the ball past goalkeper Ababacar for the equaliser to the relief of their vociferous fans.
Boulaya scored the winner in stoppage time following a fast break that saw him outpace the Al Rayyan defence to fire home a shot that went between the legs of the goalkeeper.
Three minutes later, Moreno found the net with a fine header for what could have been Al Rayyan’s equaliser, following a throw-in, but after a VAR check, the goal was overturned and Al Gharafa ran away with the victory on the night.