Doha: A late goal by Ahmed Alaa in the closing stages helped Al Gharafa overcome Mesaimeer SC 1-0 in the Emir Cup quarterfinal at the Al Arabi Stadium here on Friday evening.
Alaa found the back of the net in the 88th minute to end Mesaimeer’s impressive campaign in the competition which included their upset wins against QNB Stars League sides Al Ahli and Al Sailiya in the previous rounds.
Coach Dragan Tadic’s side never looked like the team to be beaten by Gharafa, who were not in their elements.
Robert Brito Luciano and Ahmed Kanu were in great form and tested the opponents’ back-line in the first half, but failed to convert as they lacked firepower.
Gharafa keeper Qasim Burhan had to dig deep into his resources to stave off those sporadic attacks.
It was an evenly balanced match, but was full of missed chances as Gharafa also had a bad day at office particularly inside the box.
Bulent Uygun’s men didn’t really exert themselves barring a goal by Othman Alawi in the 33rd which was turned down due to off-side.
"It was a difficult game. Mesaimeer played with a lot of conviction and power," said Uygun, who will have to strengthen his team against Al Rayyan in the semis.
Their inspirational captain Wesley Sneijder tried to infuse some confidence with his neatly executed free-kicks, but they weren’t good enough to pierce the defence.
In another quarterfinal played later in the evening, Al Rayyan beat Al Arabi 3-0 to set up a semifinal clash with Gharafa.