WATCH: QNB Stars League - Week 14 highlights

WATCH: QNB Stars League - Week 14 highlights

By QLSports

As many as 14 goals were scored and two matches ended in draws in the 2020-21 season QNB Stars League’s Week 14 matches played on Tuesday and Wednesday (January 12 and 13, 2021).

The highly entertaining encounter between league-leaders Al Sadd and defending champions Al Duhail was the major highlight of the week. The match ended 3-1 in favor of Al Sadd, the same margin with which the former won their first-leg encounter, as The Wolves maintained tightly their grip on the overall standings.

The coach-Xavi-led team thus widened their gap on top of the table with second-placed team Al Duhail from eight to 11 points to stay strong on course for the title.

Al Sadd and Al Duhail have 38 and 27 points respectively.

Ace Algerian striker Baghdad Bounedjah struck a hat-trick in Al Sadd’s crucial victory after Qatar international striker Almoez Ali had put Al Duhail ahead.

Al Gharafa climbed from fourth to third position with 24 points after they played out a 1-1 draw with Al Arabi in another exciting match.

Al Rayyan improved from sixth to fifth place with a 2-1 win over Qatar SC, with Yohan Boli and Shojae Khalilzadeh scoring for the former and Youcef Belaili finding the target for the latter.

Al Rayyan and Al Ahli both have 22 points, but the former are placed ahead on better goal difference +3 as against Al Ahli’s -5.

Al Ahli 1 vs Al Khor 2

Date: Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Venue: Al Ahli Stadium

Al Khor defeated Al Ahli 2-1 at the Al Ahli Stadium on Wednesday.

Giannis Fetfatzidid scored Al Khor’s both goals (second and seventh-minute penalty) as The Knights moved on to 10 points.

Al Ahli pulled one back in the form of an own goal by Al Khor defender Rafael Dos Santos in the 63rd minute.

Al Ahli, who once led the QNB Stars League standings, remained on 22 points, the same as Al Rayyan but are placed in sixth position on goal difference.

Al Rayyan have a goal difference of +3 (16 goals for and 13 against) as against Al Ahli’s -5 (20 goals for and 25 against).

The result also saw Al Ahli slip from the fifth position.

It was Al Khor’s only second victory in this season’s tournament and the three points that they collected would prove crucial in their bid to survive in the top flight.

Both teams came off defeats, with Al Ahli losing to Al Arabi and Al Khor losing to Umm Salal by an identical 0-1 margin in Week 13. However, Al Khor had the last laugh this time around.

Al Gharafa 1 vs Al Arabi 1

Date: Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Venue: Qatar SC Stadium

Umm Salal defeated Al Khor 1-0 at the Al Duhail Stadium on Friday.

A dramatic penalty on the final touch of the match helped Al Gharafa share points with a spirited Al Arabi side following a 1-1 draw at the Qatar SC Stadium on Wednesday.

Mehdi Torabi opened the scoring for Al Arabi in the 11th minute, but right at the end of the clash, Jonathan Kodjia (90+7) converted a penalty to seal a hard-fought draw for Al Gharafa.

Al Gharafa and Al Arabi are now on 24 and 19 points respectively.

Al Arabi’s Sebastian Soria got into the act in the 11th minute when he headed the ball off a long throw in, but the ball narrowly went past the left goalpost.

Seconds later, Al Arabi opened the scoring.

After receiving a cross, Mehrdad Mohammadi fired a shot towards the goal that was blocked, but the ball fumbled out of the goalkeeper’s hands and Torabi quickly tapped the ball into the net.

In a dramatic end to the match, Al Gharafa pulled off the equalizer through a penalty kick. Al Arabi substitute Jassem Jaber brought down Amro Seraj inside the box and referee Abdulla Ali Athba sought VAR replays to make the penalty decision.

Kodjia delivered a perfect penalty kick that crashed into the net though the goalkeeper dived correctly to his right. The Al Arabi fans walked off dejectedly after the tensed penalty kick.

Al Gharafa had beaten Al Arabi 2-1 in the first leg of 2020-21 season QNB Stars League.

Umm Salal 0 vs Al Wakrah 0

Date: Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Venue: Qatar SC Stadium

Umm Salal and Al Wakrah played out a goalless draw at the Qatar SC Stadium on Wednesday.

Umm Salal and Al Wakrah both now have 14 points.

Al Wakrah produced an early attack with Ali Awad, who curled in a shot that hit the goalpost to the right of keeper Baba Malick in just the third minute.

Stationed outside the Umm Salal box, Awad tapped the ball down after a loopy cross and then unleashed powerful shot that beat keeper Malick and hit goalpost.

Four minutes later, Malick survived another Awad deflection – this time a snap-header from close range on a long cross from the flank.

Al Wakrah skipper Mohamed Benyettou also impressed with two attempts in quick succession from close range in the 10th and 14th minute respectively but, both on both occasions, Malick stayed alert to kill the moves from close range.

In the 40th minute, Al Wakrah’s Benyettou fired a powerful shot off an indirect corner kick, but his shot was blocked by defender Omar Rabah right in front of his own goal.

Seconds later from a resultant corner kick, Benyettou attempted a bicycle kick from inside the Umm Salal box, but his shot could only get far towards team-mate Mohamed Emad who also tried to find the net with a header, but the ball sailed above the crossbar.

Close to the hour mark, Umm Salal’s Rabah aimed at the goal, but Al Wakrah goalkeeper Saoud Al Khater blocked the move. Al Wakrah substitute Omar Ali also attempted a similar shot at goal from inside the box, but Umm Salal keeper parried the ball away in the 67th minute.

Ten minutes later, Benyettou fired a shot from close range that was caught by diving Umm Salal keeper.

In the last few seconds before injury time, Benyettou connected well from close range after a cross from the flank. However, his header was beautifully intercepted by Malick.

Al Sadd 3 vs Al Duhail 1

Date: Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Venue: Al Sadd Stadium

Leaders Al Sadd fought back from a goal down to beat holders Al Duhail 3-1 at the Al Sadd Stadium on Tuesday.

Al Sadd rode on a hat-trick by Algerian striker Baghdad Bounedjah, who scored in the 14th, 50th and 87th minutes. Captain Almoez Ali had put Al Duhail ahead as early as the sixth minute by converting a penalty kick.

Al Sadd had won this season’s QNB Stars League first-leg match between the teams by the same margin.

Al Sadd thus widened the gap with Al Duhail to 11 points as The Wolves moved on to 38 points with their 12th victory, compared to nine wins by Al Duhail.

It was Al Duhail’s fifth loss, whereas Al Sadd remained as the only unbeaten side so far.

In the sixth minute, Al Duhail stunned Al Sadd fans. Almoez, after receiving a long cross, charged towards the Al Sadd box with Abdelkarim Hassan giving hot chase. Just as Almoez sneaked into the box, Abdelkarim’s tackle from the back saw the Qatar national team star fall down.

Referee Abdulhadi Al Ruaile, after seeking VAR assistance, pointed to the spot and the penalty was easily converted by Almoez.

In the 14th minute, Al Sadd struck back.

Bounedjah, after receiving a cross from Al Haydous on the flank, hoodwinked Ismail Mohammed as he entered the Al Duhail box from the flank. Just as Al Duhail’s Mehdi Benatia charged ahead to block the move, Bounedjah successfully worked on an acute angle to slip the ball past the outstretched left hand of the keeper.

Maintaining their attacking game from the first half, home side Al Sadd jumped to a 2-1 lead early in the second half. After a goalmouth melee and with three Al Duhail defenders blocking his path, Bounedjah showed great alertness to tap the ball in from close range.

Three minutes from time, Bounedjah picked up a neat cross from substitute Akram Afif before charging into the Al Duhail box. As the Al Duhail keeper left his position to kill the move, Bounedjah calmly slotted the ball home to complete his hat-trick in the second successive match.

Al Sailiya 2 vs Al Kharaitiyat 0

Date: Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Venue: Al Ahli Stadium

Al Sailiya defeated Al Kharaitiyat 2-0 at the Al Ahli Stadium on Tuesday.

Abdulqadir Ilyas (27th minute) and Mohanad Ali (51st minute) scored the goals as Al Sailiya raised their score to 18 points with their fifth victory, while Al Kharaitiyat remained on six points following their 12th defeat, the worst record by any side in the 12-team tournament.

Sami Trabelsi-coached Al Sailiya thus somewhat put behind the disappointment of losing big-time to leaders Al Sadd (0-8) in the previous round.

The result further compounded the woes of Al Kharaitiyat, who remained as the basement side, and they now stare at relegation. The Thunders are now under the tutelage of ex-Qatar international midfielder Wesam Rizik, who recently replaced Yousef Adam.

It may be a coincidence that Al Sailiya had beaten Al Kharaitiyat by the same margin in the first leg of 2020-21 season QNB Stars League.

Al Rayyan 2 vs Qatar SC 1

Date: Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Venue: Al Sadd Stadium

Al Rayyan beat Qatar SC 2-1 at the Al Sadd Stadium on Tuesday.

Al Rayyan’s goals were scored by Yohan Boli (45+1) and Shojae Khalilzadeh (54th minute). Qatar SC’s reply came through Youcef Belaili (79th minute).

It was the sixth win of the season for Al Rayyan, now playing under coach Laurent Blanc. The Lions have 22 points, whereas Qatar SC have a tally of 23.

After a fast start, Al Rayyan produced their first real threat in the ninth minute when Franck Kom, positioned close to the Qatar SC box, unleashed a powerful left-footed drive that hit the crossbar and trickled back into play.

Relentless attacks helped Al Rayyan take the lead seconds before the half-time whistle.

Qatar SC’s Khaled Ahmed fired a shot towards keeper Al Hail. But Boli, stationed nearby, jumped at the opportunity, reached the ball first and send the deflection past the keeper with a quick tap from close range.

Al Rayyan doubled their lead early in the second half. A spectacular volley on a loose header inside the Qatar SC box helped Shojae score his first goal of the season with a powerful shot in the 54th minute.

In the 80th minute, Bashar Resan of Qatar SC sneaked into the Al Rayyan box and tapped across toward Belaili. The Al Rayyan keeper charged towards the ball, but Belaili hoodwinked his marker and after a few steps, dinked a low shot into the empty net.

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