Al-Sadd extended their lead at the top of the QNB Stars League after a 4-1 win over Al-Gharafa in the Round 9 game which was played at the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium on Sunday.
The result took Al-Sadd’s tally to 25 points from 8 wins and a draw. Khoukhi Boualem (5’), Santi Cazorla (64’), Akram Afif (84’) and Baghdad Bounedjah (90’) scored for the Wolves, while Koo Ja-cheol netted the only goal for Al-Gharafa (77’).
Al-Sadd got their breakthrough goal early on, when Khoukhi Boualem sent a thunderous free-kick flying into Al-Gharafa’s goal, from around 35 yards out, five minutes after kickoff.
After the opening goal, Al-Sadd looked to increase their lead with a number of attack but found it difficult to break through Al-Gharafa’s defence. A great chance materialised in the 31st minute, when Baghdad Bounedjah’s shot was parried away by Salah Zakaria; the ball fell to Tarek Salman, whose shot went out off the post.
Al-Gharafa then had a chance to score from a penalty kick in the 35th minute, but Sofiane Hanni’s attempt was kept out by Meshaal Barsham. The a penalty had been awarded for a foul on Yousuf Muftah by Tarek Salman.
The first half thus ended with Al-Sadd leading by a lone goal, and after the restart, Xavi made a change. He sent on Abdelkarim Hassan in place of Tarek Salman, to play as the left-back, which meant that Mohammed Waad moved to midfield.
In the 55th minute, Bounedjah dribbled into the box to reach a dangerous position but Tameem Al Muhaiza intervened to clear the danger with a tackle. Two minutes later, Jonathan Kodjia had the ball in the net for Al Gharafa at the other end, but the referee disallowed the goal following a VAR review which showed the player was offside.
Al-Sadd finally got their second goal in the 64th minute, following a free-kick that was floated in to the box by Santi Cazorla. With Bounedjah leaping to get to it, the ball went untouched and flew into the goal, deceiving the keeper.
In the 77th minute, South Korean midfielder Koo Ja-cheol reduced the deficit for Al-Gharafa after receiving a pass from Hanni on the right.
Akram Afif then restored Al-Sadd’s two-goal lead in the 84th minute, playing a one-two with Bounedjah before finishing with a great strike past Salah Zakaria.
In the 90th minute, Akram returned the favour, setting up Bounedjah to score Al-Sadd’s fourth and final goal following an attack that started in their own box. It took a VAR review to confirm the goal, after which the Wolves held on to clinch their eighth win of the season.
Al-Sadd x Al-Gharafa (QNB Stars League Round 9)
Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium
Al-Sadd: Meshaal Barsham, Pedro Miguel, Jung Woo-young, Tarek Salman (Abdelkarim Hassan), Mohammed Waad (Hashim Ali), Hassan Al-Haydos (Rodrigo Tabata), Baghdad Bounedjah, Guilherme Torres, Khoukhi Boualem, Santi Cazorla, Akram Afif
Al-Gharafa: Salah Zakaria, Tameem Al Muhaiza, Yousuf Muftah, Koo Ja-cheol, Othman Al Yahri, Ahmed Alaa, Hector Moreno, Adlene Guedioura, Homam El Amin, Jonathan Kodjia, Sofiane Hanni
Al-Sadd won 4-1
Khoukhi Boualem 5’
Santi Cazorla 64’
Koo Ja-cheol 77’
Akram Afif 84’
Baghdad Bounedjah 90’
Tarek Salman 34’
Koo Ja-cheol 75’
Abdullah Al-Athba (main referee)
Taleb Salem (assistant 1)
Yousuf Al-Shammari (assistant 2)
Mohammed Al-Obaidly (fourth official)