TOP COPS

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N GANESH

, FOOTBALL , DSP MAGAZINE

LEKHWIYA made the most of Al Gharafa goalkeeper Yousef Hassan’s poor performance to hand them a 3-0 defeat and extend their stay on top of the standings.

Gharafa, who have improved a lot ever since they suffered a 4-5 defeat at the hands of the Cops in the first phase, held them goalless for almost the entire first half. But two goals in four minutes by Ismail Mohammed (40th) and Almoez Ali (44th) and a Mohammed Muntari header in the 67th sealed their fate.

Yousef, who did well during Qatar’s Asian Under-19 Championship triumph in Myanmar in 2014, messed up while trying to deal with left-back Khaled Muftah’s cross leaving Ismail with an easy task of tapping in at the near post. He then embarrassingly mishit after venturing out of the area to clear a Nam Tae-Hee’s long ball bound for striker Almoez, who pounced on it and hit with the outside of his right foot. It seemed Yousef could have done better while trying to block Muntari’s header even.

Gharafa coach Pedro Caixinha refused to blame Yousef.

“If there’s any one responsible for the defeat, it’s me. It’s not fair to put the blame on Yousef. Every player makes mistakes and they sometimes prove costly, but when goalkeepers commit them, they become more visible and often get magnified,” said Caixinha.

The victory helped Lekhwiya increase their tally to 39 points, two clear of only other unbeaten side Al Sadd, who beat Al Ahli 1-0.

Another title hopefuls El Jaish, who are third, scraped past Al Arabi 4-3 in a high-scoring thriller, with Uzbek forward Sardor Rashidov netting an injury-time winner.

Holders Al Rayyan climbed above Gharafa to fourth position after seeing off Umm Salal 1-0. An ugly brawl, however, marred their win, with Rayyan’s Victor Caceres and Abdulkarim Ali along with Umm Salal’s Yannick Sagbo receiving red cards late in the second half.

Elsewhere, Al Khor defeated Al Sailiya 3-1 and Al Kharaitiyat beat Al Wakrah 2-1. Last week’s other action between promoted sides Muaither and Al Shahaniya ended in a 1-1 draw. 

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