05 May 2018 – 0:15
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).
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.