QNB Stars League Week 17 – Al Gharafa 2 Al Wakrah 1
Al Gharafa defeated Al Wakrah 2-1 in Week 17 of the 2019-20 QNB Stars League at the Al Gharafa Stadium on Thursday.
Sofiane Hanni (60th-minute penalty) and Jonathan Kodjia (70th minute) scored for Al Gharafa as they moved on to 28 points.
It was a brilliant fightback by Al Gharafa, who rallied from being a goal down as early as the fourth minute as Al Wakrah had seized an early initiative through Iliass Bel Hassani.
It was Al Gharafa’s eighth victory, while Al Wakrah, who had lost 1-2 to Umm Salal in the previous round, crashed to their eighth defeat and stood on 19 points.
Possession was even for both teams throughout the game.
Bel Hassani’s goal, a long-range shot, was literally a bolt from the blue for Al Gharafa, who equalised through a penalty converted by Hanni. The penalty was awarded when Ahmed Alaaeldin was tripped by Al Wakrah defender Ali Karami.
Kodjia headed in Muad Hassan’s cross from the right to give Al Gharafa the lead.
Hanni then had a chance to cement Al Gharafa’s position, but could not find the mark a second time.
At the other end, Mohamed Benyettou had come close towards securing an equaliser for The Blue Wave, but was off the mark.
The three points were a great relief for The Cheetahs, who have not had a good run of late. They had exited from two cup tournaments in consecutive weeks recently, bowing out of Amir Cup in the pre-quarterfinal stage after losing to Second Division side Al Markhiya before they suffered the setback in Ooredoo Cup, where they were two-time defending champions.
Al Gharafa were then held 1-1 by Al Ahli in Week 15 of the QNB Stars League and suffered a 0-2 defeat at the hands of Al Sailiya in Week 16.
Al Wakrah and Al Gharafa had played out a 3-3 draw in the first leg of 2019-20 QNB Stars League.