Al Arabi edge Al Rayyan to qualify for Ooredoo Cup final


Al Arabi made it to the 2019-20 season Ooredoo Cup final by beating Al Rayyan 2-1 in the first semifinal played at the Al Sadd Stadium on Saturday.

Al Arabi fought back from being a goal down in the 29th minute through Al Rayyan’s Abdulrahman Al Harazi, with The Dream Team scoring through Abdulaziz Al Ansari (43rd minute) and Hamdi Harbaoui (57th minute).

Icelandic midfielder Aaron Gunnarsson had a hand in Al Arabi’s both goals as they resulted from his throw-ins.

It was a much-anticipated match, given that Al Rayyan and Al Arabi are the clubs with the most traditional fan base in Qatar.

Al Rayyan had more of the ball (55 per cent) and pressed hard for an equaliser, but Al Arabi held fort.

Expectedly, Yacine Brahimi led Al Rayyan’s charge and they could take the lead around the half-hour mark through Al Harazi whose placing shot went into the goal off the defensive wall.

Al Ansari drew level for Al Arabi by converting Gunnarsson’s throw-in from the right into the goal.

Before Hamdi headed in Gunnarsson’s measured cross from the right, off the latter’s own throw-in, Al Arabi captain Ahmed Fathi had a shot saved by Al Rayyan goalkeeper Mahmoud Ahmad.

Al Rayyan’s series of attacks saw Al Arabi goalkeeper Mahmoud Abunada thwart Abdulaziz Hatem twice. Generally, The Lions’ attacks were weak to fetch them a second goal.

Al Rayyan thus lost their chance to land a silverware this season as they had exited in the quarterfinals of Amir Cup (beaten 1-0 by Al Markhiya) and finished as runners-up, behind Al Duhail, in the QNB Stars League.

On the other hand, the victory was a big boost for Al Arabi, who could finish only seventh in the league.

Al Rayyan made it to the semifinals by defeating Al Khor 7-6 in the quarterfinals. The match was decided in sudden death after the score was tied 1-1 in regular time and 5-5 in tie-breaker.

Al Arabi qualified for the last-four stage by defeating Al Wakrah 1-0.