Al Arabi claimed the QFA Cup title after edging a spirited Lusail SC side 3-2 in a thrilling final at the Thani bin Jassim Stadium, yesterday.
Substitute Abdulla Almuraisi scored the winning goal in the 79th minute after Lusail SC overcame a double deficit following a good fightback in the action-packed title clash, watched by a good number of fans.
Qatar Football Association (QFA) Board Member and Chairman of the QFA Referees Committee Hani Ballan presented the trophy to the triumphant Al Arabi side.
The Dream Team paid tribute to former Qatar footballer and their legend Adel Al Mulla, who passed away on Saturday.
“We were all in a somber mood because of the sad demise of our legend Adel Al Mulla and we are all praying for him and his family,” Al Arabi’s Ahmed Fathi said after the match, before adding Lusail gave them great fight in the final.
“We faced a tough challenge from Lusail but thankfully we overcame that challenge. We played well and deserved to win. This win will give us great motivation in the next season,” he added.
Younes Ali-coached Al Arabi started strongly with Lusail SC, coached by Fabio Cesar, producing an impressive show in the middle of the game. Al Arabi claimed lead in the third minute when Aaron Salem produced a brilliant run taking the ball past several Lusail players into the box from near the half-way line.
He found Rami Suhail, who passed him back and Salem comfortably defeated goalkeeper Ababacar Noba to give the Dream Team an early lead.
Al Arabi were dominating the proceedings but Lusail created an opportunity just to see Abdulla Alawi hitting the ball wide, with only goalie Sataa Abdulnaser guarding the goal.
Abdulaziz Al Ansari doubled the lead for Al Arabi in the 13th minute when his ambitious strike from outside the box took a deflection of a Lusail player to land into the goal with Noba diving in the opposite direction.
Lusail looked a different side after the half-hour mark and started creating spaces to put pressure back on Al Arabi. An attempt by Saoud Ali Abdallah was blocked well by Abdulnaser but Lusail succeeded in earning a penalty soon after the attack.
A rash challenge by Hamid Ismaeil against Ibrahim Mohammed inside the box prompted referee Hamad Maqed Al Subaie to point at the spot kick.
Mohammed Kinani did not waste the opportunity and reduced the lead with a clinical hit defeating Abdulnaser completely in the 41st minute.
Lusail started the second half strongly and did not wait much to find an equaliser following a great play by Kinani. The Lusail star lobbed the ball smartly to Abdulrahman Mosed, who put the ball through Abdulnaser’s legs from near the penalty spot in the 49th minute.
The equaliser resulted in exchange of several attacks with both teams looking to seize the lead.
Al Arabi finally scored the winning goal when Salem’s attempt took Noba’s rebound and Almuraisi put the ball in from a close range. Al Arabi held their nerves to stop Lusail, who did their best to score until the final whistle.