Al Arabi clinch Qatar-UAE Super Cup title - GulfToday

Al Arabi clinch Qatar-UAE Super Cup title


Members of the Al Arabi team celebrate with the trophy after winning the match against Sharjah.

Gulf Today Report

Yousef Msakni strike helped Al Arabi defeat the UAE’s Sharjah to lift the inaugural Qatar-UAE Super Cup at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha on Friday.

Msakni’s goal came in the 58th minute of the highly-entertaining match, attended by 17,362 fans.

Jassim Bin Rashid Al-Buainain, President of Qatar Football Association (QFA) and Qatar Stars League, and Mohamed Khalifa Al Suwaidi, Vice-President of QFA, crowned the winners.

Al Arabi almost went a goal behind as early as the first minute of play when a poor clearance by goalkeeper Jassim Al-Hail almost caused Sharjah’s Luan Pereira to score the opening goal, but luckily for the home team, the ball went out for a goalkick.

The match took a positive turn for Al Arabi from thereon as they gradually began to gain control with their compact midfield, restricting the incursion of their opponents into their half as much as possible.

Al Arabi’s Wassim Keddari was close to getting the opener in the 32nd minute, but his glancing header off Rafinha Alcantara’s corner kick went just inches wide, much to the disappointment of the vociferous fans.

Another opportunity came begging for the Qatari side in the 36th minute, but Rafinha miscued the ball when perfectly laid up for a shooting opportunity by Marco Verrati.

With the first half coming to a close with no goals on either side, Sharjah almost changed the narrative in two minutes of added time with Moussa Marega’s attempt at goal, after a beautiful overlapping run, was stopped by quick-thinking goalkeeper Al Hail, who came out of his box just in time to block the shot from the Malian international.

Al Arabi came into the second half with the same grits as the first and they were clearly the better side with each passing minute, but a lack of clinical finish denied them the lead on several occasions.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 58th minute by Msakni, who finished with a cool lob over the onrushing goalkeeper Adel Al-Hosani, after an assist by Hassan Alaaeldin, to give Al Arabi the well-deserved lead.

Sharjah almost got the equaliser in the 63rd minute following a quickly-taken free-kick, but Al Arabi’s Helal Mohammed read the ball well to block what could have been a goal from Sharjah’s Caio Lucas. An heroic right-footed save from goalkeeper Al Hail in the 66th minute also prevented an apparent Marega’s goal.

Things took a different turn for Al Arabi in the fifth minute of added time as Verrati was sent off after collecting his second yellow card of the match for pulling the shirt of substitute Sebastian Tagliabue. The foul warranted a VAR check for a possible penalty kick, which was stood down after a lengthy review.

Despite several attempts at an equaliser by Sharjah in the dying minutes, Al Arabi stood firm, defending their lone goal to the end, to emerge as winners.

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