By Sports Reporter/Doha
Shane Lowry’s strike helped Al Ahli hold Al Gharafa 1-1 in the QNB Stars League at the Al Ahli Stadium yesterday. Ahmed Alaaeldin put Gharafa ahead in the 66th minute, but Lowry’s 71st minute strike helped Ahli level things up.
It was a mammoth effort by Ahli after they had to play with 10 men from the 23rd minute as Jasem Mohamed was shown a red card for his foul on Alaaeldin. Gharafa had more of the ball in the first half, but Al Ahli created more opportunities. Gharafa’s injured trio of Hector Moreno, Koo Ja-Cheol and Sofiane Hanni were back in action, but they could not do much. Koo headed wide narrowly and Homam Elamin sent a booming shot straight to goalkeeper Ivanildo Rodriguez.
At the other end, captain Nabil El Zhar and Abdulrahman Mohamed led Al Ahli’s charge. After a barren first half, Al Gharafa upped the ante in the second. Alaaeldin found the mark after being set up by Jonathan Kodjia following a through pass.
Lowry’s equaliser came off a cross from the right by Abdulrasheed Umaru. It was the second time in successive weeks that Al Ahli and Al Gharafa were facing off as the former beat the latter 1-0 in the Ooredoo Cup quarter-finals.
The Brigadiers had also reached the Amir Cup quarterfinals by beating Qatar SC 2-1 two weeks ago. The Cheetahs had bowed out of the Amir Cup in the pre-quarter-final stage after losing 0-1 to Second Division side Al Markhiya before they suffered the setback in Ooredoo Cup, where they were two-time defending champions.
In another match, Al Shahania held hosts Al Arabi to a goalless draw. Shahania and Arabi now have nine and 20 points respectively. With only seven rounds of action remaining, Shahania need to pull up their socks sooner if they are to stay away from the danger zone.
For Arabi, the result was a setback in their bid to finish among the top four and thus stand a chance for an AFC Champions League berth. It was an even game right throughout.
Shahania’s attackers Ali Ferydoon and Ahmed Akaichi, and Al Arabi’s Pierre-Michelle Lassoga and Marc Muniesa all tried hard to break the deadlock, in vain. Shahania goalkeeper Ebrahim Daryoush and his Al Arabi counterpart Mahmoud Ibrahim stood firm as the stalemate continued.
It may be recalled that Al Shahania had started off the tournament’s second leg well by beating Al Gharafa 2-1, but they then lost 2-4 to Al Sadd and 1-4 to Al Wakrah.
Al Arabi cruised to the Ooredoo Cup semifinals last week by defeating Al Wakrah 1-0. They have also reached the Amir Cup quarterfinals after edging Al Khor.
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