(MENAFN- The Peninsula)
Doha: Al Gharafa claimed full points against Al Ahli while a stoppage time (90+2) goal by substitute Tameem Mansour Al Abdullah helped Al Rayyan save their blushes against Al Wakrah as the Round 2 of the QNB Stars League concluded with thrilling contests yesterday.
Hosts Al Gharafa's only goal against Al Ahli was scored by Sofiane Hanni (85th-minute penalty).
It was Al Gharafa's second win in a row, having beaten Al Shamal 2-0 in their opener.
Both teams adopted a cautious approach from the start even though Al Gharafa had more possession in both halves.
Before long, Al Ahli's Hernan Perez had a chance, but Al Gharafa defender Almahdi Ali cleared the ball, conceding a corner, before the former could take aim at the goal.
Al Ahli had a goal disallowed in the 66th minute scored by Ali Qaderi, who had just come in as a substitute. The Brigadiers' regular captain this season got possession of the ball in between an exchange between Al Gharafa goalkeeper Yousef Hassan and Almahdi. But referee Yousef Al Sharshani ruled it out after referring to VAR as Al Ahli substitute Naveed Mohammed had fouled Almahdi in the process.
As the match headed for a draw came the decisive moment. Al Ahli's Naveed tripped Homam in front of the goal and Sofiane was bang on target from the penalty spot.
Elsewhere, at the Khalifa International Stadium with Nasser Al Yazidi (43rd minute) scored for Al Wakrah before Al Rayyan managed to equalise through Al Abdullah, much to the delight of their French coach Laurent Blanc.
After the final whistle, a beaming Blanc hugged his Al Wakrah counterpart Marquez Lopez.
This was the second successive draw for Al Rayyan who were held 2-2 by Umm Salal in Week 1, whereas Al Wakrah had lost 0-1 to Al Arabi.
Early in the match, Al Rayyan's Hashem Ali produced a powerful shot from the edge of the box, but Al Wakrah goalkeeper Saoud Al Khater blocked the trajectory of the ball.
Al Wakrah, however, kept their pressure on Al Rayyan with sustained attacks. In the 21st minute, Mohamed Benyettou managed a missile from outside the box. The ball smashed into the Al Rayyan crossbar and bounced back.
In the 23rd minute, Al Rayyan striker Yohan Boli, after receiving an open cross from the centre, missed his target despite having time and space to shoot straight into the net with only Al Wakrah keeper Al Khater to beat.
Five minutes on, Boli wasted another chance to score, this time from close range.
Al Rayyan skipper Abdulaziz Hatem charged into the Al Wakrah box and his rather feeble shot beat keeper Al Khater, but the ball sailed past the goalpost to his right in the 32nd minute.
Close to half-time whistle, Al Wakrah's Al Yazidi missed a shot at goal, but soon afterwards made up for it by finding the net. After a goalmouth melee, he aimed for the goal from close range and the ball went in off a deflection.
In the 68th minute, Boli aimed at the goal from close range, but the Al Wakrah custodian blocked the shot with a move.
Al Wakrah's Khaled Muneer also missed a similar close-range shot in the 77th minute.
However, Al Abdullah saved Al Rayyan's blushes deep into the game by deflecting a cross from Khaled Muftah into the net from close range.
Umm Salal and Al Khor shared points with a 1-1 draw in the third match of the day, also played at the Khalifa International Stadium.
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