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QNB Stars League: Al-Gharafa edge past Al-Sailiya 2-1 in season opener

Doha: Al Gharafa beat Al Sailiya 2-1 in an exciting Week 1 clash of the 2022-2023 season QNB Stars League at the Khalifa International Stadium on Tuesday.

Moayad Hassan (31st minute) and Amro Seraj (48th minute) scored for the winners while substitute Mohanad ‘Mimi’ Ali pulled one back for Al Sailiya in the 67th minute.

It was a fast-paced contest between the teams, played frantically towards the end. While goalkeeper Qasem Burhan stood out with his performance for Al Gharafa, Iraqi forward Mimi excelled for Al Sailiya.

Substituted in the 61st minute in place of Saied Eisa, Mohanad was in the thick of action for over 35 minutes of the match. It was his brilliant header off a corner kick that not only got Al Sailiya their lone goal of the match, but also instilled confidence towards getting an equalizer. The team tried hard, but was done in by some brilliant goalkeeping by Burhan.

Before Mimi entered the field, it was Al Gharafa dominating mostly. Their first goal was a superb combination between Amro Seraj, Andri Syahputra and Muyad Hassan, who made a clean left-footed finish into the far corner of the net.

Early in the second half, Al Gharafa’s lead was consolidated by Seraj whose left-foot kick from top of the box was deflected by Al Sailiya’s Mostafa Mohammed and also beat goalkeeper Claude Amine, with the ball going into the right corner.

The introduction of Mimi saw Al Sailiya make more attacking moves. Soon after their first goal, Mimi and Greek winger Giannis Fetfatzidis combined effectively, but a header from Mimi off Fetfa’s cross was well held by Burhan.

In the 90th minute, Al Gharafa survived another scare when Swede Carlos Strandberg’s shot was stopped by Burhan, who went down in the process.

The added time of the match also saw Mimi shoulder a cross into the goal, but the goalkeeper stayed alert to deny Al Sailiya any hopes of an equaliser.

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