Hosts Al Arabi put up a fighting show to beat Al Markhiya 3-1 in Week 19 of the QNB Stars League yesterday. It was The Dream Team’s second successive win, their fourth this season. They have 18 points now.
Diego Jardel (seventh-minute penalty) and Kwame Karikari (22nd and 90+4) scored Al Arabi’s goals. Al Markhiya reduced the deficit through Leonardo de Souza’s spectacular effort in the 30th.
The home side grabbed an early lead when young Mohamed Salah brought down Khalfan Ibrahim on the edge of the box. Jardel easily converted the spot kick past goalkeeper Mohamed Ahmed al-Bakri.
After Al Arabi’s Suad Naji’s shot narrowly missed the crossbar, they doubled the lead when Karikari found the net from close range.
Khalfan easily spotted Jardel on the left pocket of the Al Markhiya box.
Showing great speed, Jardel surged ahead with the ball before easily picking out an unmarked Karikari who deflected the ball into the net with ease. It was the Ghana player’s fourth goal of the season as Al Arabi fans cheered from the stands.
Al Markhiya, one of the gutsiest sides this season, fought back for their opening goal when Leonardo found the net. Leonardo, backing himself to score from more than 30 yards, unleashed a curling that shot sailed into the net.
In the 68th minute, Al Markhiya’s goal hero Leonardo ran all the way from the half-line, beating a couple of Al Arabi defenders, before unleashing a power-packed left-footed drive that narrowly missed the goalpost.
In the dying seconds, Karikari sent a knee-high ball into the net to seal the win.