Expo Stars League: Al Arabi Defeat Al Sadd

Rafinha Alcantara scored the only goal as Al Arabi defeated Al Sadd in their rescheduled Week 6 match of the 2023-2024 season Expo Stars League at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium of Al Sadd club on Sunday. Rafinha's goal came in the 31st minute of the much-awaited encounter to bring Al Arabi to 16 points, moving them to the sixth position in the standings, while Al Sadd maintained their lead on top of the table despite the loss with 28 points. It was Al Sadd's first defeat in this season's league championship. Al Arabi seemed to be the more determined of the duo and they made their statement of intent known within 23 seconds of play when Omar Al Somah almost got them what could have been the fastest goal of the season from a left-footed shot that went just inches wide from the left side of the box. Five minutes later, Al Somah again had a close call as his right-footed shot from the centre of the box, off an assist by Abdou Diallo, painfully grazed the bar to the relief of Al Sadd fans, who thronged the stadium in large numbers. Al Sadd's first major opportunity fell to Akram Afif in the 16th minute, but his left-footed attempt from outside the box went narrowly amiss to the left. After a series of attempts and denials on both sides, The Dream Team eventually got their heart's desire in the 31st minute, with Rafinha taking advantage of Al Sadd goalkeeper Meshaal Barsham's mishandling of the ball from Mohammed Hassan Al Taabouni's corner kick to fire home a left-footed shot at close range to put them ahead in the enthralling encounter. As much as Al Sadd tried to restore parity, Al Arabi maintained their lead as the first 45 minutes came to a close. In search of the much-needed equaliser, Al Sadd made a double substitution at half-time, with Hashem Ali coming in for Mostafa Mashaal and Guilherme Torres replacing Mateus Uribe. Despite Al Sadd injecting fresh legs into the game, it was Al Arabi who again came close to scoring in the 51st minute, with Diallo's header from the centre of the box, following Rafinha's corner kick, missing narrowly to the left. Al Sadd's Akram responded with an attempt of his own a minute later, but his right-footed shot from outside the box was calmly saved by Jassim Al Hail. Pedro Miguel got another opportunity to equalize for Al Sadd in the 76th minute, following a brilliant free-kick by Akram, but his header from the centre of the box missed to the left. In spite of Al Sadd's tremendous dying-minutes pressure, Al Arabi's defence stood out tall with shoulders raised as they came out unscathed with the final result unchanged, giving them the maximum points. (QNA)

Source: Qatar News Agency