Doha, Qatar SC secured their first win of the season by beating Al Ahli 4-2 in Week 6 of the 2023-2024 season Expo Stars League at the Al Thumama Stadium on Saturday.
Raoul Sanda grabbed a brace (fourth and 90th minutes) for Qatar SC, while Bruno Tabata (16th minute) and Ben Malango (58th minute) were also on target for the winners.
Al Ahlis two goals were scored by substitute Julian Draxler, who came off the bench to net a brace in four minutes (62nd and 66th minutes).
Both teams came into the match in dire need of points, with Qatar SC securing just two draws and no wins from their last five matches, while Al Ahli got their first points and first victory of the season from their last match against Muaither.
With the result, Qatar SC now have five points, while Al Ahli remained on three points.
Sanda gave Qatar SC an early goal in the fifth minute after goalkeeper Yazan Naim mishandled Eisa Palangis cross from the left flank, which allowed the Cameroonian midfielder to fire home a right-footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.
Tabata made it two for the away team in the 16th minute following an overlapping run, off a centre-half assist from Sanda, that ended with a left-footed curling shot from the right side of the box that goalkeeper Naim could not provide an answer to despite his outstretched hands.
Oumar Sekou came close to pulling one back for Al Ahli in the 30th minute after a series of blunders from Qatar SCs defensive line-up, but his final touch was blocked for a corner kick, which was eventually not converted.
With two goals up, Qatar SC refused to take their foot off the gas as they continued to mount pressure on Al Ahlis defence, and Tabata could have added his second of the night in the 40th minute had goalkeeper Naim not got a palm to his right-footed shot from the right side of the box.
The situation remained the same as the teams headed for the dugout on completion of the first half.
Desperately in need of a goal to at least cut the deficit, Al Ahli threw in ex-PSG star Draxler in place of Ali Qaderi and Abdulrasheed Ibrahim for Mohammed Al Ishaq at half-time, and the introduction of the substitutes appeared to have impacted positively on their midfield as it became more compact and the team seemed to play with more precision.
Draxler laid a well-timed pass for Al Dokali Al Seyed in the 50th minute, but his left-footed shot from outside the box was too high.
Much as Al Ahli tried to get a foot into the game, it was Qatar SC who got their third goal through Malango in the 58th minute, whose header from the centre of the box beat goalkeeper Naim to the bottom right-hand corner. Bashar Rasan provided the assist for the goal.
Three minutes later, Al Ahli got a foot back in the game as Draxler pulled one back for The Brigadiers from a Naim Sliti assist.
Draxler was again on target in the 65th minute following a defensive error from the Qatar SC backline, which allowed the German star to hammer home a right-footed shot from the centre of the box, which goalkeeper Motasem Al Bustami could do nothing to prevent.
With the goal, the game took on a new dimension as Al Ahli continued to press for the much-needed equalizer. Draxler tried a through ball meant for Jassem Mohammed in the 80th minute, but he was adjudged offside.
Against the run of play, Sanda restored Qatar SCs two-goal lead in the 90th minute with a 30-yard thunderbolt of a shot that caught goalkeeper Naim napping.
Much as Al Ahli tried to restore parity, Qatar SC held on for their first win of the season.
Source: Qatar News Agency