QNB Stars League Week 9 - Al Ahli 1 Umm Salal 0
Al Ahli scored a crucial victory over Umm Salal, winning 1-0, in Week 9 of the 2019-20 QNB Stars League at the Al Ahli Stadium on Friday.
Abel Mathias scored the winning goal in the eighth minute.
Al Ahli, with their fourth victory, moved to 13 points, while Umm Salal’s woes compounded as they stood on five points.
Umm Salal, playing their first match under Tunisian Ahmed Labiadh who replaced Spaniard Raul Caneda, crashed to their sixth defeat.
After Umm Salal’s Mahmoud Al Mawas missed a sitter by sending his shot wide of the side-netting, Abel put The Brigadiers ahead by heading in a cross by Abdelrahman Mohammed from the right.
Al Mawas impressed with his good runs along the left, and he combined with fellow striker and captain Yannick Sagbo. They were ably supported by Victor Vazquez from the middle.
At the other end, captain Nabil El Zhar linked up well with Hernan Perez.
Sagbo shot narrowly wide in the 21st minute after being set up by Vazquez off a counter-attack.
A couple of minutes later, Abel attempted a similar header off Jasem Mohammed, but the ball hit the crosspiece past the outstretched hand of Umm Salal goalkeeper Yazan Naim.
If Al Ahli dominated the first half, Umm Salal attacked more in the second. The Orange Fortress seemed to be throwing everything into the game in their bid to get their campaign away from the danger zone.
Left-back Murad Naji’s one of many advance movements saw him take a first-time shot off an Al Mawas cross in the 48th minute, only to be blocked by Al Ahli custodian Ivanildo Rodriguez. Murad attempted the rebound, but Ivanildo had recovered to collect it.
Ten minutes later, Ivanildo parried Sagbo’s beaming free-kick to safety.
Al Ahli’s intensity subsided as they looked content to be defending the lead, while Umm Salal's attempts at the goal were feeble.
The Al Ahli goal had two close calls towards the end, defender Shane Lowry’s clearance of a Murad cross narrowly going wide of his own goal and then, in stoppage time, Ivanildo saved Adel Rhaili’s thumping long-range shot.