Al Markhiya stun Al Rayyan
Doha: A late penalty converted by Omani international Ahmed Mubarak gave second division side Al Markhiya a shock 1-0 victory over giants Al Rayyan in the second quarter-final of the Amir Cup here . They will take on Al Arabi in the semi-final.
With an array of stars in their ranks, six-times champions Al Rayyan were the overwhelming favourites to book a last-four spot but were found wanting on several counts yesterday as Al Markhiya produced a tight defence to thwart whatever Diego Aguirre’s side could come up with inside an empty Abdulla bin Khalifa Stadium where fans were barred due to the coronavirus scare.
Al Markhiya, who have earned a reputation as strong top-flight contenders over the years with their performances in the second division, had upset Al Gharafa in the previous round to make the last-8 of Qatar’s most lucrative tournament and, having secured a semi-final berth, would be fancying their chances of not only reaching the final but also winning the prestigious title for the first time.
Al Rayyan struggled to create clear scoring opportunities and failed to make good of the several half-chances they got as the Al Markhiya defence held firm.
An early chance was wasted when Al Markhiya’s defence was caught napping but a cross into the box was not picked by any of the Rayyan players.
Veteran Rodrigo Tabata was unlucky to see his shot hit the crossbar after Al Markhiya goalkeeper Mohamed Said had got his fingertips to the ball. A Tabata free-kick was also collected by Said.
Al Rayyan thought they had got a penalty late in the first half after Yohan Boli was fouled in the penalty area, but the referee changed the decision to offside after a VAR review.
Things got desperate in the second half but Al Rayyan couldn’t come up with any goal-worthy move despite the introduction of Sebastian Soria. Yaccine Brahimi, another star in the Rayyan line-up, was kept in check by the Al Markhiya defence.
Al Markhiya got the breakthrough in the 80th minute when al-Mehaijri slotted home from the penalty spot after Abdelaziz Hatem handled the ball.