QNB Stars League Week 19 – Al Gharafa 0 Al Duhail 2
Al Duhail got back to winning ways and moved one step closer to regaining the title as they defeated Al Gharafa 2-0 in Week 19 of the 2019-20 season QNB Stars League at the Al Sadd Stadium on Sunday.
Mohammed Muntari (fourth minute) and substitute Paulo Edmilson (80th minute) scored the goals for Al Duhail, who moved on to 46 points.
The Red Knights widened their gap at the top of the table with second-placed Al Rayyan, who were held goalless by Al Arabi on Saturday, to four points.
Al Duhail, who had beaten Al Gharafa 2-1 in the first leg, had dropped two crucial points in the race to the title after being held 1-1 by Umm Salal in Week 18.
Al Gharafa, who had beaten Al Arabi 1-0 last week, could not repeat that performance and had to play second fiddle to Al Duhail, who had more of the ball. The Cheetahs remained on 31 points, but retained their fourth position in standings.
Defender Sultan Al Breik had a role in Al Duhail’s both goals as he provided the assists with measured crosses from the left.
Muntari was on target as he sent home a rebound after Almoez Ali’s shot came off the rival defence, with Karim Boudiaf setting the stage with a chested-down cross from Al Breik.
Al Gharafa struck back through Jonathan Kodjia, their hero in victory over Al Arabi, but he sent his shot wide.
Al Duhail’s Asim Madibo and Almoez tested Al Gharafa custodian Qasim Burhan, while Sofiane Hanni and Ahmed Alaaeldin too joined Kodjia in the rival attack.
One such move saw Al Duhail defender Mehdi Benatia beat Alaaeldin to the ball in a one-on-one situation.
Al Duhail effected four substitutions in the second half and the first among them, Edmilson replacing Almoez, brought them result as the former, after a darting run along the right, doubled their lead by volleying home Al Breik’s cross from the left.
Al Duhail’s Han Kwang-Song then headed the ball against the right post off a free-kick from Ali Afif, both being substitutes.
Al Gharafa made desperate attempts at the goal and Ahmed Al Janehi was unlucky not to have scored as his missile shot in stoppage time beat goalkeeper Mohammed Al Bakri, but the ball hit the post before going out.
Muad Hassan then skied the ball to add to Al Gharafa’s woes.