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QNB Stars League: Al-Duhail go top, Al-Arabi slip up

Doha: Al-Duhail climbed to the summit of the QNB Stars League table after their 2-0 win over Al-Shamal in Round 11 was followed by rivals Al-Arabi suffering a defeat to Al-Sadd by the same scoreline.

Al-Ahli drew 2-2 with Al-Markhiya in the other Round 11 game that was played on Monday.

At the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium, Al-Duhail secured all three points through a brace from their Kenyan striker Michael Olunga, who scored in the 61st and 68th minutes.

The victory took Al Duhail’s points tally to 23 in 10 matches – coming from seven victories, two draws, and one loss in the league so far.

Captain Almoez Ali and Olunga made for a fine combination to fetch the first goal. After a rasping drive from Almoez ricocheted off goalkeeper Seck, Olunga moved in to latch on to the chance and score.

Olunga produced his and his team’s second goal minutes soon, positioning himself perfectly to reach for Ferjani Sassi’s flag-kick and place it in the left corner of the net.

The goal also saw Olunga become the league’s top-scorer. He now has a tally of nine goals, one ahead of Gelson Dala of Al-Wakrah, who has scored 8 goals.

In the second game played at the same venue, Al-Ahli looked to have got all three points up until the 85th minute when they had a 2-0 lead. However, Al-Markhiya came back with two late goals to grab a point.

Ali Qaderi opened the scoring in the 27th minute, surprising everyone with a missile shot. In the 66th minute, Yazan Al Naimat took advantage of the lack of understanding between Al-Markhiya goalkeeper and the defenders, and the result was an own goal.

Al-Markhiya’s comeback started in the 85th minute, when Driss Fettouhi scored with a powerful strike from a free-kick a few yards outside the penalty area. Aymen Hussein then won a penalty in stoppage time after being challenged by Shojae Khalilzadeh, and duly converted it as the teams ended up sharing the spoils.

Al-Sadd got an important derby win over Al-Arabi in the final game of the day.
The big moment came when Baghdad Bounedjah’s shot hit the hand of Aron Gunnarsson just on the left-side edge of the danger area. A VAR check by the referee led to a penalty and Santi Cazorla made no mistake with the kick.

Hassan Al-Haydos soon doubled Al-Sadd’s lead. It resulted off a free-kick that was headed off by an Al Arabi defender, but the ball went straight to Al Haydos who was waiting outside the box. He seized the opportunity, dispatching a superb volley which went through the legs of two defenders and deflected off a third and beat a diving goalkeeper to his left.

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