September 24, 2021

Olunga on target as Al Duhail SC recover to beat Al Khor SC in season opener

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The towering Harambee Star got off the mark with two goals as his side staged a dramatic comeback to win away from home

Kenya international Michael Olunga grabbed a brace as Al Duhail SC came from a goal down to beat Al Khor SC 4-1 in their Qatar Stars League opener on Sunday.

It was Khor who took the lead in the fourth minute courtesy of Rafael Vaz but Duhail turned the game in their favour as the towering Harambee Star levelled the scores in the 34th minute, Ismaeel Mohammad then made it 2-1 in the 50th minute before Olunga notched his second from the penalty spot in the 68th minute.

Second-half substitute Khalid Mohammed completed the emphatic win in the 89th minute to silence the home team.

Duhail handed a debut to former Tottenham Hotspur defender Toby Alderweireld, who started in the defence alongside Sultan Al Brake and Hisham Al-Rawi while Olunga was given the honours to lead the attack in the match at Al-Khor SC Stadium.

Going into the fixture, the two teams had met six times since November 2018, with the home team managing two wins, one draw, and losing three.

It was the hosts who started the game on a high note and they took the lead when Vaz reached out to a cross from Gaser Madani and powered a header past Duhail goalkeeper Salah Zakaria.

Duhail, led by former Shakhtar Donetsk coach Luis Castro, who was appointed recently to replace Frenchman Sabri Lamouchi, were stunned by the goal and started to build their play from the back hoping to catch Khor on the counter.

And in the 26th minute, Khor defender Diyab Taha was shown a yellow card after a reckless foul on Olunga and five minutes later, Duhail should have levelled the scores when Ferjani Sassi left his markers with speed after a clever ball from the right, but his weak effort was punched out to a fruitless corner by keeper Baba Gueye.

But in the 34th minute, Duhail moved level, Olunga using his legs to control the cross from Ismaeel Mohammad before sneaking it past Gueye.

Olunga, who managed 19 goals for Duhail in all competitions last season, almost doubled the team’s lead but he failed to react quickly to a loose ball inside the Khor danger zone and it was cleared to safety by defender Mohammed Hilal.

The two teams went into the half-time break tied at 1-1 and after the resumption, it was Duhail who attacked most and they were rewarded when Mohammad turned a cross from Edmilson Junior into the back of the net.

Duhail continued to dominate the game after taking the lead and another combination between Junior and Olunga almost resulted in the third goal in the 60th minute but a quick intervention from Khor defender Mubarak Nayef, who dived to put the ball out for a thrown-in, saved the situation.

Olunga, though, stepped up to convert from the penalty spot after a foul on Junior and he sent keeper Gueye the wrong way for the third goal.

After the goal, Duhail made their first substitution as Khalid Mohammed came in for Ferjani Sassi and three minutes later Rabih Boussafi replaced goal scorer Mohammad while Khor brought on Said Brahmi for Diyab Taha.

It was Khalid who scored the fourth goal after finishing a cross from Junior to hand Duhail maximum points from their first fixture of the season.

Al Khor SC: Baba Gueye, Rafael Vaz, Mubarak Nayef, Mohammed Hilal, Mosaab Abdulmajed Abdullah, Diyab Taha, Gaser Madani, Ismail El Haddad, and Giannis Fetfatzidis.

Subs: Ahmed Hassan Al Mohanadi, Said Brahmi, and Muhammad Zidan.

Al Duhail SC: Salah Moussa Zakaria, Sultan Al Brake, Toby Alderweireld, Bassam Hisham Al-Rawi, Ceara Luiz, Edmilson Junior, Ferjani Sassi, Ismaeel Mohammad, and Michael Olunga.

Subs: Ali Hassan Afif, Mohammed Al Bakri, Karim Boudiaf, Rabih Boussafi, Shehab Ellethy, Assim Madibo, Khalid Mohammed, and Abdelrahman Moustafa.

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