Doha, Qatar: Al Gharafa came to life in the second half to score three goals against Al Kharaitiyat and move to the top of Group A in the QSL Cup on Saturday.
Moayad Hassan scored a brace on either side of a Wesley Sneijder strike as Gharafa beat a battling but wasteful Kharaitiyat 3-0.
The win helped Gharafa, with five points, move to the top of Group A on goal difference. Even though Both Al Duhail and Umm Salal, who earlier played out a 1-1 draw, are also on five points, they only have a goal difference of +1 to Gharafa’s +3.
After a largely uneventful first half in which Moayad and Tamir Jamal missed back to back chances at the stroke of half-time, the game break into life in the second period.
Gharafa took the lead in the 50th minute when Othman Al-Yahri tracked a fine run into the box from Moayad, whose first-time finish gave Ahmed Sofyan in Kharaitiyat goal no chance.
But Kharaitiyat put in a spirited fight in search of an equaliser and were unlucky not to get it.
After Muhammed Hussein tested Gharafa keeper Qasem Burhan with a powerful right-footer from outside the box, Adul Hadi Amin got a series of chances, but could not take any of them.
First Saied Elhag came up with a last-ditch tackle to deny Amin who was about to pull the trigger before the Kharaitiyat U-23 striker’s attempted chip past an advancing keeper sailed wide of the far post.
Within minutes he got a third chance when Mahir Yusuf found him with an intelligent ball, but Gharafa defence did its job in covering him.
Gharafa then punished Kharaitiyat for their profligacy with a beautiful goal in the 75th minute.
Muath Yahya made a weaving run through the middle and found Sneijder with a perfect ball and the Dutch forward hit the back of the net in style.
Even as Kharaitiyat continued to look for a goal, Gharafa got their third in added time when Sneijder’s shot hit the upright and Moayad buried the rebound.
Earlier, Youssef El Arabi came to Duhail SC’s rescue with an 85th minute equaliser against Umm Salal. Abdulla Hassan Kamal had given Umm Salal the lead in the 77th minute in the match played at Qatar Sports Club Stadium, but El Arabi’s scrambled strike gave Duhail a valuable point.
In another match Qatar Sports Club rallied to beat Al Arabi 2-1.