05 May 2018 – 0:15

Alaa rescues Al Gharafa as  Al Rayyan march into semis

Al Gharafa’s Ahmed Alaa scores their winning goal against Mesaimeer during the Emir Cup quarter-final match played at the grand Hamad Stadium in Doha yesterday. Picture: Baher Amin/The Peninsula

The Peninsula

DOHA: Substitute Ahmed Alaa produced a rescue act with a brilliant header in the 88th minute as Al Gharafa secured a berth in the Emir Cup semi-finals with a 1-0 win against Mesaimeer yesterday.

At the at the Grand Hamad Stadium, Qatar Gas League side Mesaimeer did not make things easy for Wesley Sneijder-led Al Gharafa who received a direct entry into the Emir Cup quarter-finals following their fourth place finish at the QNB Stars League (QSL).

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Despite the underdog status, Mesaimeer put in a good fight in yesterday’s match and spoiled Al Gharafa’s efforts to penetrate the defense on multiple occasions.

Half time scores read nil-all and it seemed like the game was heading for extra time.

With just two minutes remaining before the full time, Yousuf Muftah made a cross pass from the right corner, and the ball was picked up by the Egyptian who jumped high and beat the Mesaimeer  goalkeeper at point-blank range.

Yesterday’s win means Al Gharafa will now meet Al Rayyan in the semi-finals on may 11.

Former champions Al Rayyan yesterday beat hosts Al Arabi 3-0 to seal their place in the semis.

Playing at Grand Hamad Stadium, Mohsine Moutaouali (53), Rodrigo Tabata (82) and Aldoukali Al-Baoure (90 +4) scored the goals for Al Rayyan, coached by Michael Laudrup.

After a goalless first half, Moutaouali opened the scoring with a snap-header in the 53rd minute on a loopy cross by Tabata.

In the 82nd minute, Moutaouali ran with the ball for almost 40 yards before clipping a neat cross for Tabata who was stationed inside the Al Arabi box.

Tabata picked up the ball before curling a left-footed shot the right of goalkeeper Masoud Zarayi.

In injury time, Aldoukali curled in a spectacular shot 30 yards away from the goal for Al Rayyan’s third strike.