QNB Stars League Week 11 - Al Gharafa 1 Al Sadd 5


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Al Sadd returned to the 2019-20 QNB Stars League action with a convincing 5-1 victory over high-fliers Al Gharafa in Week 11 at the Al Gharafa Stadium on Monday.

Baghdad Bounedjah opened the scoring in the second minute, with Akram Afif (13th-minute penalty, 52nd and 72nd minutes) and Hassan Al Haydous (31st-minute penalty) also contributing to the scoreline.

Sofiane Hanni reduced the deficit for Al Gharafa in the 74th minute.

Al Sadd now have 18 points with two games in hand, against Al Arabi and Al Khor which were deferred due to their AFC Champions League engagements.

Al Gharafa stood on 20 points as they suffered their third defeat.

Fresh from their FIFA Club World Cup exploits, Al Sadd faced up against one of this season’s top sides in Al Gharafa, but were in no mood to compromise as they set off at a blistering pace.

With the game barely a minute old, the home side was unable to clear its lines as Akram found Bounedjah with a through ball and the Algerian nutmegged his opponent before exquisitely chipping the ball over an onrushing Qasem Burhan to open the scoring.

Ten minutes later, they were offered the chance to double their lead when Yousef Muftah brought down Bounedjah in the penalty area, with the referee having no option but to point to the spot. Akram stepped up confidently to send Qasem the wrong way and extend Al Sadd’s lead.

VAR then played a big role in the third goal as it twice intervened in the same passage of play, firstly to rule Bounedjah’s free-kick was handled by Adlene Guedioura in the wall, resulting in a penalty. Bounedjah then missed the subsequent penalty with VAR ordering a re-take as Qasem had advanced off his line too soon. This time, Al Haydous took control with a perfectly-executed shot.

The fourth and fifth goals of the evening came in similar fashion from the left side as Boualem Khoukhi played in Akram to chip over the luckless Qasem from an acute angle, before he completed his hat-trick with a well-executed pass into the side of the net.

Al Gharafa had time for a late consolation when Sofiane scored a drive from outside of the penalty area, but the comprehensive victory was well and truly completed by that point.