Doha, Qatar: Al Arabi entered the semifinals of Ooredoo Cup with a 1-0 victory against Al Wakrah, while two-time reigning champions Al Gharafa crashed out after losing to Al Ahli by the same scoreline in Thursday's other quarterfinal.
At Al Arabi Stadium on Thursday, Pierre-Michelle Lasogga scored the winner for the hosts in the fourth minute.
Though Al Wakrah had more possession in the first half, it was Al Arabi who created more chances.
Lasogga found the net after being set up by Morteza Mohammed with a header, and led Al Arabi’s charge as Mohammed Salal El Neel, who has not recovered fully from an injury, was replaced in the 11th minute by Yousef Abdurizag.
Yousef then made back-to-back attempts besides testing goalkeeper Hassan Idriss with a long-range shot.
Mohamed Benyettou spearheaded Al Wakrah’s challenge even as injured forward Christian Ceballos continued to sit in the stands.
Iliass Bel Hassani pulled the strings from the midfield, while Benyettou and Omar Ali made attempts for an equaliser.
In the second half, Al Wakrah pressed hard for a goal in the face of exit from the tournament. However, that never came as The Dream Team hung on to the slender lead, thanks also to their goalkeeper Mahmoud Ibrahim.
Even some last-ditch efforts did not help the Blue Wave either.
In the second match, Ahli captain Nabil El Zhar scored the all-important goal in the 55th minute to send Gharafa out of the tournament.
Gharafa thus suffered the ignominy of having bowed out of cup competitions in successive weeks after they lost to Al Markhiya in the Amir Cup pre-quarterfinals.
Possession was even in the match that was fast-paced right from the onset.
Gharafa missed the services of Hector Moreno, Koo Ja-Cheol, Ahmed Alaaeldin and Sofiane Hanni to injuries.
On the other hand, Al Ahli made up for the absence of injured spearhead Abel Mathias, thanks mainly to outstanding displays by Nabil and Hernan Perez.
Al Ahli even survived the absence of Hernan to a red card (second yellow) from the 67th minute.
After Al Ahli’s Abdelrahman Moustafa’s long shot went wide in the first half, Kodjia fumbled with a one-on-one with goalkeeper Ivanildo Rodrigues.
Soon at the other end, Nabil sent his shot marginally over the bar.
Al Ahli upped the ante in the second half and were rewarded when Nabil capitalised on a defensive mistake by Homam Elamin, who misjudged the flight of a long ball.
Al Ahli, who had reached the quarterfinal of Amir Cup last week by beating Qatar SC, had a goal scored by Abdelrahman Moustafa disallowed through VAR in the 74th minute.