YOUSSEF El Arabi continued his fine run of form and scored a brace as Lekhwiya blanked Al Kharaitiyat 3-0 to return to the summit.
The Moroccan striker found the back of the net in the 16th and 47th minutes, and was involved in Youssef Msakni’s 60th-minute effort as Lekhwiya drew two clear of Al Sadd on top.
Umm Salal, who handed Lekhwiya their only defeat this season in the 21st round, had held Al Sadd goalless to give Cops the advantage, but Kharaitiyat looked to be tricky opponents, having won their previous three matches.
Lekhwiya had played in the AFC Champions League against Al Fateh and coach Djamel Belmadi wanted an early goal to take control against Kharaitiyat. El Arabi responded to his call and headed home an Ismail Mohammed cross from the right in the 16th.
Despite Kharaitiyat’s dogged defending, Lekhwiya could penetrate, but Nam Tae-Hee and Msakni lacked precision and missed sitters.
And El Arabi increased the lead soon after resumption when Ismail made the most of a tentative approach by left-back Saoud Nasser and picked out the former Granada player, who tapped the ball in at the far post.
Kharaitiyat made sporadic counter-attacks, but the momentum stayed with Lekhwiya, who virtually killed the game on the hour mark through Tunisian international Msakni. Nam and El Arabi played a brilliant one-two and the latter back-heeled the ball to Msakni, who tapped it in.
El Arabi, who increased his tally to 24 goals and stayed at the top of scorers’ chart, said he was not so keen on his personal record.
“I don’t look at the top-scorer award. My priority is to help Lekhwiya regain the league title. We’ve returned to the top and it’s important that we retain our place because only three games remain and another comeback won’t be possible if we lose our position,” said El Arabi.