Al-Gharafa hold on for a draw against Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahli in AFC Champions League

Al-Ahli's Saleh al-Amri (R) fights for the ball with Al-Gharafa's Khaled al-Zereq during the AFC Champions League match between Saudi's Al-Ahli FC and Qatar's Al-Gharafa at the King Abdullah sports city in Jeddah. (AFP)
Updated 13 March 2018
0

Al-Gharafa hold on for a draw against Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahli in AFC Champions League

JEDDAH: Al-Ahli extended their unbeaten run in the 2018 AFC Champions League to four games after a 1-1 home draw against Qatar’s Al-Gharafa in Group A on Tuesday.
The Qataris came very close to stunning their Saudi Arabian hosts in the sixth minute when Abdelaziz Hatem rattled the right post after a cross from Wesley Sneijder.
Al-Ahli improved as the game went on, with Saleh Al-Amri taking advantage of a misplaced pass to break through on goal but failed to take his chance. At the other end of the pitch, Moayed Hassan tested the goalkeeper from distance but Yasser Al Mosailem was well positioned to save.
Al-Gharafa almost opened the scoring in 19th minute when Mehdi Taremi found himself in front of an empty net after onrushing goalkeeper Al Mosailem failed to clear a ball from Assim Madibo but the Islamic Republic of Iran international somehow missed the target.
Goalless at the break, the Qataris finally took the lead through Taremi who converted a cross from Hassan in the 56th minute.
Al-Gharafa’s joy didn’t last for long as Al-Ahli responded just two minutes later when Saeed Al-Muwallad crossed for Moamen Zakaria, who headed home at the far post.
The Saudis almost had a smash-and-grab winner when Ioannis Fetfatzidis cut inside from the right flank and shot, but it came off the far post. Zakaria found the rebound but failed to net the second goal as his attempt sailed above the crossbar 15 minutes before the final whistle.
The result keeps Al Ahli top of Group A with eight points ahead of their game against Tractorsazi Tabriz while Al-Gharafa are on five points, level with Al-Jazira who they host next.


Liverpool return to top of the table with 3-1 win over arch-rivals Manchester United

Updated 16 December 2018
0

Liverpool return to top of the table with 3-1 win over arch-rivals Manchester United

  • Shaqiri braces gives Reds deserved win over United at Anfield.
  • Mourinho's men well beaten as Liverpool leapfrog Manchester City ti return to top of the table.

LIVERPOOL: Two deflected Xherdan Shaqiri strikes handed Liverpool victory over Manchester United in the Premier League for the first time in nine attempts as Jurgen Klopp’s men moved back to the top of the table with a 3-1 win at Anfield on Sunday.
United manager Jose Mourinho claimed ahead of the game that the league leaders have had luck on their side this season, but while there was fortune in substitute Shaqiri’s two goals in the final 17 minutes, the visitors did not deserve anything more than a fifth defeat of the season.
Liverpool leapfrogged Manchester City to finish the weekend where they started, a point clear at the top, and move a mammoth 19 clear of United, who remain in sixth and are now 11 points off the top four.
The contrasting form showed by both sides this season continued as United strained to keep a rampant Liverpool at bay and were only level for so long thanks to a huge error by home goalkeeper Alisson Becker.
Sadio Mane had given Liverpool the lead before Jesse Lingard levelled when Alisson dropped a routine cross at the feet of the England international.
United had the ball in the net first on a rare foray forward but Romelu Lukaku was flagged offside despite not getting a touch to Ashley Young’s free-kick.
But Liverpool then laid siege to the visitors’ goal with David de Gea stretching to keep out a low drive from Roberto Firmino, Young clearing off the line and Fabinho firing wide from the edge of the box.
Only Manchester City have kept Klopp’s side from scoring in the Premier League this season and a United defense that has kept just one clean sheet in the league since September never looked capable of holding out like they had in their two previous visits to Anfield.
Mourinho’s men were finally breached when Mane controlled Fabinho’s chipped ball into the box on his chest and volleyed past the onrushing De Gea.
However, Liverpool’s momentum was punctured by an Alisson gift 12 minutes before the break.
The Brazilian was Liverpool’s hero with an injury-time save to secure the Reds’ place in the last 16 of the Champions League against Napoli on Tuesday.
But he spilled Lukaku’s simple cross into the path of the grateful Lingard to bundle the ball into an unguarded net.
The second half followed a similar pattern with one-way traffic toward the Kop as Liverpool sought the goal to take them back to the top of the table.
De Gea scrambled low to his left to palm Firmino’s prodded effort to safety, while Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk saw efforts deflected behind.
Jurgen Klopp turned to Shaqiri to unlock the United defense 20 minutes from time and the Swiss international needed just three to put Liverpool back in front.
De Gea did well to prevent Ander Herrera turning Mane’s cross into his own net, but the ball fell for Shaqiri and his effort cannoned off Young and in off the underside of the bar.
Seven minutes later, Shaqiri got lucky again when, this time on his favored left foot, his shot flicked off the diving Eric Bailly to leave De Gea helpless.