Doha: Youssef El Arabi scored a hat-trick as Al Duhail SC found their flamboyant football after struggling by their own standards in a couple of matches to demolish Al Kharaitiyat 8-2 in the QNB stars League on Sunday.
Duhail, who were off to flying start in the League, were held 1-1 by Al Gharafa on October 28 and were less than impressive in the next match against Al Khor even though they won it 4-2.
But it looked like the fortnight-long international break has done them a world of good.
The fluent, slick-passing was back in full view and it did not take long for them to take the lead.
Almoez Ali spread the game into the right wing where Ismael Mohamed was always willing to make his runs, and the right-back picked Youssef Msakni with his cut in from the byline.
Msakni, back after helping Tunisia to the World Cup in Russia, happily accepted the gift of a pass and steered it to the far corner of Ahmed Sofyan's goal.
Duhail doubled their lead in the 16th as El Arabi applied finishing touches to a fine passing move also involving Luiz Martin, Msakni and Almoez Ali.
The move was started by a Lucas Mendes through ball and El Arabi took his time before slotting it home even though Ahmed Sofyan got his hand to it.
El Arabi again put the ball in the net in the 23rd, but the goal was ruled out for offside.
But the QSL top-scorer with 14 goals did not have to wait for long as Almoez squared him the ball inside the six-yard box in the 31st minute, leaving him with the simple task of a tap-in, which he duly obliged.
Almoez then got into the scoresheet when he got himself at the end of a delicious diagonal ball from Ismael Mohamed and the Duhail forward blasted the ball into the roof of the net in the 39th.
Kharaitiyat came back from the breather a lot more determined and Rachide Tiberkanine took full advantage of Ali Ali Afif's terribly under-hit back pass for goalkeeper Khalifa Ababacar to pull a goal back in the 48th minute.
Seven minutes later, Kharaitiyat and Tiberkane scored again and this time it was a beautifully-worked team goal.
Anouar Diba wrongfooted Duhail's substitute defender Dami Traore with a back heel for Sanjar Tursunov and the Uzbek forward's centre was perfect for Tiberkane to slot home his second of the evening.
Duhail suddenly looked vulnerable and though they though managed to mend the gaps in the defence, and El Arabi missed a chance to scored a hat-trick, their fancy football was missing.
But they found it again at the end and Kharaitiyat were made to suffer.
After a brief period of inactivity in terms of goals, Nam Tae Hee scored Duhail's fifth when he slotted home Ismael's cross from the right in the 83rd minute and suddenly, it opened the floodgates.
Msakni headed home substitute Murad Naji's cross two minutes later to make it 6-2 and in the 87th El Arabi powered home a header to complete his hat-trick.
Duhail were not finished as Nam made it 8-2 with a powerful left-footer from a tight angle.
Djamel Belmadi's side are now back to the top of the table with 22 points from eight matches after Sadd had provisionally gone ahead with 21 points following their 4-1 victory against Umm Salal earlier in the day. Al Rayyan, who defeated Al Arabi 4-2, are also on 21 but are third on goal difference.