IT WAS a week to forget for former champions Al Sadd as they not only dropped crucial points after their 1-1 draw against Al Shahaniya, but also saw three players being expelled towards the end of the game.
Centre-back Ibrahim Majed, strikers Pedro Miguel and Baghdad Bounedjah were all given marching orders in injury time while Shahaniya’s Nasser Al Kaabi was also sent off.
Pedro was the first to go, in the opening minute of the added time after receiving his second yellow for an off-the-ball foul on keeper Khalifa Nasser Al Dossari.
Majed and Al Kaabi received a direct red after a brawl involving players from both teams while Bounedjah also was sent off after his second yellow.
The result and the marching orders left Sadd in a state of despair as the gap between them and leaders Lekhwiya widened to five points. Jesualdo Ferreira’s men are on 44 points.
The desperation to find a late winner probably led to frustration, but Sadd should have avoided the ugly scenes.
Bounedjah scored in the 20th minute for Sadd, who are hoping to reclaim the league shield they last won in 2012-13, but Muhannad Adnan equalised in the 36th to help Shahaniya bounce back into the game.
“We lost two valuable points which may have dented our hopes to win the title, but losing three players was also a big blow,” said Ferreira. “Poor refereeing affected us while their errors in the previous matches had also cost us important points. The officials provoked our players against Shahaniya. There’s a complete lack of respect for Sadd.”
Ferreira blamed it on referee Ahmed Al Sayed, who lacked confidence to control the players.
Khalfan Ibrahim, Hassan Al Haidous and Morteza Pouraliganji returned to action after injury lay-offs. However, they could not do much as Igor Stimac’s side overshadowed them in the middle.
Shahaniya managed just one corner against Sadd’s six, but it was their steely resolve which triggered frustration in the Sadd camp.
“Shahaniya were smart and played a defensive game while their keeper was more keen on wasting time. I hope they adopt the same tactics against others. We didn’t play well and didn’t deserve to win,” added Ferreira.
Lekhwiya inched closer to a fifth title after drubbing Al Khor 6-0, with Moroccan striker Youssef Al Arabi netting three goals.
Al Rayyan saw off Al Ahli 5-1 to continue their winning streak and consolidate their position in third place.
Meanwhile, El Jaish came from behind yet again to hold a gritty Al Sailiya 1-1 .
Elsewhere, Al Gharafa’s hopes of a fourth-place finish suffered a further dent after bottom side Al Wakrah held them goalless.
Spirited Muaither held Al Arabi 1-1 while Umm Salal and Al Kharaitiyat shared points following a goalless draw.