Omar Al Somah scored a last-gasp penalty (90+8 minutes) as Al Arabi got away with a 3-3 draw against Al Duhail in their Week 3 clash of the 2023-2024 season Expo Stars League at the Al Thumama Stadium on Saturday.
Al Duhail substitute Ismail Mohammed seemed to have scored the winning goal in the 90th minute before the Syrian striker restored parity for Al Arabi for the third time in the highly-entertaining match to ensure that the spoils are evenly split between them.
Michael Olunga (fifth minute) scored the other goal for Al Duhail, while they also benefited from Abdou Diallo’s own goal (58th minute). Diallo (13th minute) and Abdullah Marafi (71st minute) were the other scorers for Al Arabi.
The match lived up to its billing as one to look out for in Week 3. Al Arabi were understandably anxious to deliver the best result for their fans following their early exit from the AFC Champions League qualifying play-off and their two drawn results in the first and second rounds of Expo Stars League, while defending champions Al Duhail were determined not to drop any points in their quest to maintain their position as table toppers.
Olunga, the league top scorer in last two seasons, continued his hot streak in front of goal as the Kenyan gave Al Duhail an early lead in the fifth minute. The striker latched on to a slick Ibrahima Diallo’s through pass and rounded up goalkeeper Jassim Al Hail before slotting home into the empty net to take his tally for the season to four.
The lead lasted only eight minutes as Al Arabi responded through Abdou Diallo, who was quick enough to slot home the equalizer into the bottom right corner after goalkeeper Salah Zakariah had parried Hamed Ismail’s 30-yard free-kick, following a foul on Al Somah, onto his way to put The Dream Team back in the game.
The Red Knights got their lead restored in the 58th minute as Abdou Diallo headed the ball into his own net after a Luiz Martin cross following a set-piece situation.
The Dream Team restored parity for the second time in the night in the 71st minute through Abdullah Marafi, whose seemingly harmless 25-yard shot managed to locate the bottom right corner of Al Duhail’s goal after Salah Zakariah had managed to punch out Helal Mohammed’s corner kick.
With the match heading towards a draw, Ismail scored with his right-footed shot from very close range to the bottom right corner from Almoez Ali’s cross in the last minute. Eight minutes later, Al Somah converted a penalty after a foul on Yousef Msakni to ensure there was no clear winner at the end of the encounter.
With the result, Al Duhail have garnered seven points from three matches, while Al Arabi are yet to find their winning formula after recording draws in all their matches so far.