El Arabi double gives Al Duhail Champions League win


Doha (AFP) – Qatar giants Al Duhail stormed to the top of Group B in the AFC Champions League with a thrilling 3-2 victory over the UAE’s Al Wahda at the Sheikh Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

Moroccan striker Youssef El Arabi, the leading scorer in the Qatar Stars League with 21 goals, was the hero for Djamel Belmadi’s men with a double, while Karim Boudiaf added one as Al Wahda were handed their second straight defeat in the tournament after their 5-1 loss to Lokomotiv Tashkent last week.

Al Duhail, who defeated Iran’s Zobahan 3-1 in Doha last week and are yet to taste defeat this season in Qatar in 17 league matches, made a dreadful start on Monday when Sultan al-Brake fouled Mourad Batna in the third minute.

Argentine striker and captain Sebastian Tagliabue sent the ball into the top-right corner of the net from the resulting penalty to put the hosts ahead in front of their home crowd.

Al Duhail failed to make good of the several chances that came their way after that, but eventually found the equaliser in the 57th minute when El Arabi shot home from just six yards after a pass from Youssef Msakni.

Al Wahda struggled to contain Al Duhail after that and conceded the lead in the 75th minute when a deflected ball fell near Boudiaf who made no mistake for his third goal of the tournament in two matches.

El Arabi then made it 3-1 with an 80th-minute header after an assist from al-Brake to compound Al Wahda’s woes.

And although the hosts pulled one back in the 90th minute through Batna courtesy of another penalty, it couldn’t prevent them from slumping to the bottom of the table.

Meanwhile, Qatar’s Al Gharafa also won, beating Tractorsazi Tabriz of Iran 3-0 in a Group A clash in Doha.

New signing Mehdi Taremi was on target twice for the hosts, scoring in the 11th minute and adding a late goal in second-half injury time.

Al Gharafa, who had lost 3-2 to the UAE’s Al Jazira in their opening game of the tournament, found their score boosted by an own goal by Tractorsazi’s Sime Gregov in the 21st minute.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Zobahan defeated Uzbekistan’s Lokomotiv 2-0 with Morteza Tabrizi and Mohamedreza Hosseini scoring in the second half.

In a late night match, Saudi Arabia’s Ahli beat Al Jazira 2-1. Taisir al-Jassim and Mohanad Aseri scored for the winners, while Al Jazira’s only goal came from an own goal, scored by Yasser al-Mosailem.

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