QNB Stars League Week 14 - Al Sadd 3 Al Duhail 1


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Leaders Al Sadd fought back from a goal down to beat holders Al Duhail 3-1 in Week 14 of the 2020-21 season QNB Stars League at the Al Sadd Stadium on Tuesday.

Al Sadd rode on a hat-trick by Algerian striker Baghdad Bounedjah, who scored in the 14th, 50th and 87th minutes. Captain Almoez Ali had put Al Duhail ahead as early as the sixth minute by converting a penalty kick.

Al Sadd had won this season’s QNB Stars League first-leg match between the teams by the same margin.

Al Sadd thus widened the gap with Al Duhail to 11 points as The Wolves moved on to 38 points with their 12th victory, compared to nine wins by Al Duhail.

It was Al Duhail’s fifth loss, whereas Al Sadd remained as the only unbeaten side so far.

In just the third minute of the match, Al Sadd keeper Meshaal ِBarsham stepped out of his box to kill a long cross from the Al Duhail half. Barsham attempted to clear the ball, but hit new recruit Michael Olunga with his shot. To the relief of Al Sadd fans, the ball slipped away from the empty goalmouth with keeper Barsham in no position to run back to his position.

Two minutes later, Al Duhail stunned Al Sadd fans. Almoez, after receiving a long cross, charged towards the Al Sadd box with Abdelkarim Hassan giving hot chase. Just as Almoez sneaked into the box, Abdelkarim’s tackle from the back saw the Qatar national team star fall down.

Referee Abdulhadi Al Ruaile, after seeking VAR assistance, pointed to the spot and the penalty was easily converted by Almoez.

In the 12th minute, Hassan Al Haydous curled in a spectacular shot from the edge of the box, but Al Duhail keeper Salah Zakaria blocked the shot with closed fists. Two minutes later, Al Sadd struck back. 

Bounedjah, after receiving a cross from Al Haydous on the flank, hoodwinked Ismail Mohammed as he entered the Al Duhail box from the flank. Just as Al Duhail’s Mehdi Benatia charged ahead to block the move, Bounedjah successfully worked on an acute angle to slip the ball past the outstretched left hand of the keeper.

In the 23rd minute, Paulo Edmilson of Al Duhail volleyed on a short cross from Almoez inside the Al Sadd box, but his shot was blocked by keeper Barsham. Three minutes later, Al Duhail’s Eduardo Rodrigues delivered a right-footed shot from the edge of the box, but his shot was parried away by the keeper. 

In the 33rd minute, former Arsenal player Santiago Cazorla hit the Al Duhail crossbar off a direct free-kick as Al Sadd mounted relentless attacks. Al Sadd’s Nam Tae-Hee also impressed with his quick moves in the first half. In the 36th minute, the Korean international unleashed a swinging shot from the edge of the box, but Al Duhail keeper caught the ball.

Maintaining their attacking game from the first half, home side Al Sadd jumped to a 2-1 lead early in the second half. After a goalmouth melee and with three Al Duhail defenders blocking his path, Bounedjah showed great alertness to tap the ball in from close range.

In the 61st minute, Olunga, inside the Al Sadd box, swivelled and let go off a shot that sailed above the crossbar. Six minutes later, Al Haydous curled in a free-kick, but his snapheader from inside the box was a little wayward. 

In what could be described unfortunate, Al Haydos missed an easy chance to score in the 78th minute. Bounedjah, under pressure from Al Duhail keeper, flicked back a cross to unmarked Al Haydous standing inside the box with acres of space to shoot the ball into the net. But the Al Sadd star’s hurriedly-taken shot missed the target from inside the box.

Three minutes from time, Bounedjah picked up a neat cross from substitute Akram Afif before charging into the Al Duhail box. As the Al Duhail keeper left his position to kill the move, Bounedjah calmly slotted the ball home to complete his hat-trick in the second successive match.