Ooredoo Cup Round 1 - Al Arabi 5 Al Ahli 1
Al Arabi had it easy over Al Ahli, winning 5-1, in Round 1 (Group B) of the 2020-21 season Ooredoo Cup at the Al Duhail Stadium on Friday.
Hamdi Harbaoui (18th and 34th minutes), Sebastian Soria (20th minute), Mehrdad Mohammadi (54th minute) and Ibrahim Nasser Kalla (78th minute) scored for Al Arabi.
Mohammed Al Naimi scored for Al Ahli in the 38th minute.
It was an encounter between two clubs which have a strong fan base and are located in close vicinity to each other.
At the same time, it was a contrast of sorts in terms of their position in the 2020-21 season QNB Stars League, which has taken a break after three weeks of action. Al Ahli are having a good run, as they top the standings with nine points and an all-win record, whereas Al Arabi are languishing at 11th place with only one point.
In hindsight, the Al Ahli attack lacked teeth and their defence was found wanting.
Al Ahli were not in the show at least for the first 35 minutes, within which Al Arabi were up by three goals. All of them were basically exchanges between Hamdi and new signing Soria, who switched to The Dream Team from Al Rayyan this season.
Soria assisted Hamdi in scoring the goals, the first resulting from Al Arabi defender Ibrahim Majed fumbling with a clearance off a long high pass.
When Hamdi scored a second time with a header off a Soria cross from the left, it was an exact role reversal of the team’s second goal scored by Soria, the cross coming from almost the same spot on the pitch and the goal coming off a header.
Al Ahli showed purpose and were immediately rewarded when Mohammed Al Naimi scored off a Nasser Al Khalfan pass.
Al Arabi continued from where they left off in the second half and Mehrdad made it 4-1 with an opportunistic strike.
Ibrahim Nasser Kalla sealed the issue with a neat finish after he latched on to a long ball.
Al Rayyan, Al Kharaitiyat, Al Gharafa and Umm Salal are the other teams in Group B.