15 Sep 2017 - 11:31
Salah helps Markhiya stun Al Sadd
17 Sep 2017 - 11:50
By Rizwan Rehmat / The Peninsula
Substitute Mohammed Salah yesterday lifted the gloom in the Al Markhiya camp with two late strikes as the newcomers to the QNB Stars League (QSL) edged former champions Al Sadd in dramatic fashion.
Playing at Al Arabi Stadium and against stiff opponents, Al Markhiya - coached by Yousef Adam - showed great spirit to produce the goals through Salah for the season’s first upset win.
In another clash yesterday, Al Rayyan beat Al Khor 4-2 to open their new season with a commanding performance. Also yesterday, Al Sailiyah crushed Al Arabi 3-1 at the latter’s home turf.
Barca legend Xavi inspired with a first-half strike at Al Arabi Stadium where Salah scored twice (82 and 85) within a space of two minutes to help Al Markhiya script a big win.
Al Sadd, sporting black jerseys for the away clash, maintained ball possession for the first 10-odd minutes of the clash but newcomers Al Markhiya remained composed with their defense not allowing any fatal breach at the backline.
However, In the 12th minute, Al Sadd nearly scored their first goal of the new season when an unmarked Hassan Al Haydos produced a deft snap-header but the deflection from close range was punched away by Al Markhiya goalkeeper Fahad Younis.
Two minutes later Al Sadd skipper Xavi curled in a well-taken long-range free-kick but defender Pedro Miguel - who was positioned inside the Al Markhiya box - failed to deflect the ball with his air-borne attempted header.
Despite being denied for 19 minutes of the round one clash, Al Sadd opened their scoring in the 20th when Xavi produced a near-perfect free-kick that sailed above the Al Markhiya wall near their own box.
The ball - that got grazed by the head Al Makrkhiya defender Talal Ali - curled in before beating the dive of keeper Younis.
At the half-hour mark, Al Markhiya’s Ali Mujabel was booked by the referee for a reckless tackle on Al Sadd’s Miguel.
In the 35th minute, Gambian international Tijan Jaiteh of Al Markhiya went solo with a long-range shot but his powerful attempt was smartly blocked by Al Sadd goalkeeper Saad Al Dosari who dove to his left to deflect the ball away.
Ten minutes into the second half, Al Markhiya’s Ghanaian attacker Kwame Karikari slipped past his marker and took aim at the Al Sadd goal but goalkeeper blocked the fast-paced shot.
In the 78th minute, Al Markhiya sub Mahmoud Attiyah attempted a solo effort but his clumsy-looking shot sailed past the Al Sadd goalpost without causing any alarm.
In the 82nd minute, substitute Salah fired a shot between the legs of Al Sadd goalkeeper Al Dosari as the men in white celebrated the equaliser against their dominant opponents.
Two minutes later, Salah - after receiving a curling cross from striker Karikari - deflected the ball into the net from close range for the second time in the match to script his team’s sensational win.