Doha, Qatar: New marquee signing Nakajima Shoya put in a splendid performance and scored a superb goal while serial topscorer came as a substitute and snatched a double as Al Duhail SC found their form and scoring touch to blank Al Ahli 6-0 in the Qatar Stars League on Thursday.
It might have come a match too late for the reigning champions as far as the league is concerned as their goalless draw last week against Al Gharafa put arch rivals Al Sadd in the prime position to snatch the title, but coach Rui Faria would be delighted with their performance and the result, with the Red Knights welcoming Estaghlal in the AFC Champions League on Tuesday.
With that game against the Iranians in mind, Faria stared with talisman El Arabi and midfielder Luiz Martin on the bench, but Duhail still had enough firepower and dominated the rivals in the first half and took a two-goal lead.
Medhi Benatia, who joined the side from Italian giants Juventus during the January transfer window, opened the scoring, for his first goal in Qatar, besides putting in a solid show in defence.
Benatia, always a threat at set pieces, steered home Murad Naji’s freekick from the right in the 20th minute to help Duhail take control of the match.
Former Ahli player Mohammed Muntari made it 2-0 in the 38th when he linked up with Shoya before beating Ivannildo Santos in Alhi goal with a delightful chip.
Nakajima, who was heavily involved in most of Duhail’s attacks, opened his account with a beautiful goal, hammering the ball into the roof of the net from inside the box to make it 3-0 in the 52nd.
Luiz Martin had replaced Assim Madibo before the half-time break while El Arabi also took the field after the breather, replacing Muntari.
Right back Murad Naji, who was always willing to join the attack, was rewarded for his hard work with a goal in the 68th when he directed Karim Boudiaf’s long ball into the net. Though the assistant referee raised his flag for offside, referee Saoud Ali Athba awarded Duhail the goal.
Ahli did not have any fight left in them and El Arabi punished them with two more goals.
The Moroccan striker scored his first from a pass from substitute Nasser Al Yazidi in the 80th minute and eight minutes later he completed the tally with another first-time finish.
Faria’s first two matches in charge produced only one goal and the Portuguese coach would be relieved with the scoreline and timing of it, with Esteghlal waiting.