Doha, - Al Gharafa consigned reigning QSL champions Al Rayyan to their first defeat of the season with a 3-2 victory on Saturday evening in a pulsating QSL game. Pedro Caixina's side secured the win with two minutes to spare thanks to a fine strike from Slovakian winger Vladimir Weiss, who grabbed a brace on the night.
Gharafa laid down a signal of intent early, Abdulaziz Hatem had a sharp shot after slipped though by Vladimir Weiss,the shot brought out a good save from Rayyan stopper Omar Barry in the fifth minute, GSL reported on its website.
The back and forth contest quickly saw Rayyan carve out their first chance of note, Spanish striker Sergio Garcia played a smart one two with Sebastian Soria, however the scuffed shot was dealt with by the Al Gharafa defence. Garcia was amongst the chances moments later again, rounding off a slick passing move drilling a hard shot towards the Gharafa goal, fortunately goalkeeper Yusef Hasan was equal to it.
The champions capitalised on their possession on the eighteenth minute opening the scoring through Sergio Garcia. A long ball from Daniel Goumou found Garcia who beat defender George Kwasi before unleashing a curling shot past Yusef Hasan for his third goal of the season.
Al Gharafa didn't waste an time in getting back into the game, and where awarded a penalty just a minute later. Rayyan defender Gonzalo Viera clumsily tripped Kriszti?n N?meth in the box and the referee duly pointed to the penalty spot. Vladimir Weiss stepped and and promptly smashed the ball into the net to level the score.
It was an even contest overall, however the sides did exchange chances to take the lead. With thirty minutes on the clock Rodrigo Tabata unleashed a trademark free kick which flew just wide. At the other end of the pitch Gharafa could of edged ahead, goalscorer Vladimir Weiss timed his run perfectly to latch onto a Johnson Kendrick through ball. However the Slovakian's shot went well side.
Michael Laudrup's side ended the first half on the front foot, and could of headed into the break with a lead had Rodrigo Tabata's shot not drawn a good reaction shot from Gharafa stopper Yusef Hasan. Both teams walked off at Gharafa stadium honours even at 1-1 After a intense opening half to the game, the second half took a while to spring into life. However slick build up play from Al Rayyan on the fifty fifth minute lead to winger Abdulrahman Al Harazi free in the Gharafa penalty box, however the shot from the young Qatari player was hit well over the bar.
The tie was slowly swinging in the favour of the QSL champions and Rayyan registered two quick-fire chances to take the lead. First of which was a blistering shot from Rodrigo Tabata, along with a towering header from Sebastian Sora. Gharafa held on with solid saves from the ever reliable Yusef Hasan.
Pedro Caixina's side where limited to few chances in the second half and perhaps should of taken a unlikely lead when Hungarian striker Kriszti?n N?meth headed the ball towards the top corner. Fortunately Rayyan Omar Barry was even to it and the Qatar international patted the ball away for a corner.
With Al Rayyan pushing for a winner, Al Gharafa struck on the break to take a 2-1 lead. Substitute Moayad Hasaan played the Rayyan offside trap to perfection and was left one on one with Omar Barry.
The young winger kept his composure to lob the keeper, with the ball trickling into the back of the net.
Undeterred Al Rayyan hit back immediately through Sergio Garcia just a minute later. The Spanish attacker calmly beat Gharafa defender Rashid Sumaila before curling the ball into the bottom left hand corner for his and his sides second goal of the game.
The win for Al Gharafa means that they leapfrog Al Rayyan into fourth place in the QSL standings.
Source: Qatar News Agency