Diame stuns Qatar SC, takes Al Ahli to quarter-finals.
Al Ahli's Mohamed Diame (centre) vies for the ball with El Mehdi Berrahma of Qatar Sports Club during the Amir Cup last 16 match yesterday. PICTURE: Shemeer Rasheed
By Sports Reporter/Doha
Former Senegal star Mohamed Diame scored a late winner as Al Ahli edged out Qatar Sports Club 2-1 yesterday to seal their quarter-final spot in the prestigious Amir Cup. The match appeared to be headed for the penalties with the scores tied 1-1 when Diame rose high to produce a cracking header off a corner in the 88th minute to seal victory for Al Ahli. Ahli have won the Amir Cup four times, the first of which came in 1973 and the last in 1992. Since then their best performance is a runners-up finish in 2003. In recent years they have not been able to match their past standards and are currently placed eighth in the QNB Stars League with just five wins from 14 matches. Yesterday's win though must have boosted their morale a wee bit as they fancy their chances of progressing further in the tournament. In a fast-paced match, both teams missed potential chances before former Ghanaian defender John Benson broke the deadlock in the 34th minute. Benson, who played for his country in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in 2009 before joining the Aspire Academy in Doha, headed the ball in from just five yards out to put Al Ahli ahead. Although they dried their best, both teams failed to come up with any significant scoring opportunities for a considerable time after that. But a dashing run down the middle by Qatar Sports Club's Uzbek striker Sardor Rashidov caught Al Ahli by surprise in the 64th minute, leading to the equalizer. Rashidov covered considerable ground and after trading a couple of passes scored with a powerful shot from just centimetres outside the penalty area. With time running out things got desperate but Al Ahli made good use of a late corner which saw the now-retired Senegal international finish off proceedings with just two minutes on the clock with Qatar SC bitterly disappointed. Wakrah beat Shahania after marathon shootout In another match, Al Wakrah booked its place in the quarter-finals after a penalty shootout win over Al Shahania at the Al Arabi stadium. After the last 16 match ended goalless in regulation period, a marathon penalty shootout ensued with Wakrah emerging winners 10-9 only after Shahania captain Alvaro Perez blazed his spot kick into the stands. Both teams spurned chances in the ninety minutes of action, with Shahania getting the first opportunity to open the account but Ahmed Akaichi couldn't hit the target. While Shahania dominated the early passage of play, Wakrah grew into the game. Mohamed Benyettou had the chance to put Wakrah ahead but the strike hit his shot wide. Benyettou was close to scoring again at the stroke of half-time but Shahania goalkeeper Ebrahim Daryoush Mordou was alert to the danger. Wakrah did find the net just before half-time through Omar Ali, but the referee ruled it off side. In the second half, Shahania could have gone ahead if not for brilliant save by Wakrah goalkeeper Saoud Mubrak al-Khater. Akaichi was presented with another opportunity to score in the 66th minute, but the Shahania striker's weak shot was easily grabbed by al-Khater.
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