Al Duhail's struggles persist in Michael Olunga’s absence with embarrassing cup exit

Photo credit || Al Duhail

STARS ABROAD Al Duhail's struggles persist in Michael Olunga’s absence with embarrassing cup exit

Mark Kinyanjui 12:00 - 29.12.2023

Al Duhail’s woes continued in the absence of injured Michael Olunga as they were bundled out of the Qatari Stars Cup in embarrassing manner on Thursday.

Struggling Qatari Stars League defending champions Al Duhail continued to feel the full wrath of Michael Olunga’s absence as they lost 3-1 at home to Al Arabi to be bundled out of the Qatari Stars Cup on Thursday night.

Olunga suffered the injury shortly after scoring as they wrapped up their Asian Champions League campaign with a 2-1 win over Iranian side Persepolis on December 2 and since then, it has been downhill for the Qatari champions.

Coach Christophe Galtier promised to find solutions in the wake of Olunga’s injury but it has so far proved difficult with his side suffering a series of defeats

The match was strong and equally exciting for both teams, as a phase of end to end action resulted in Al-Duhail taking lead in the 23rd minute, through Khaled Mohammed with a powerful shot from inside the penalty area, which landed in the far right corner of Al-Arabi’s goal.

Al-Arabi responded quickly, after Wassim Kadari succeeded in scoring the equalizer in the 34th minute with a header.

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In stoppage time, Hilal Mohammed put Al-Arabi into the lead with a cool finish to give them the advantage heading into the break.

The match was more balanced in the second half in light of Al-Duhail’s attempts to restore parity by dominating the ball, while Al-Arabi played on counter-attacks before their tact bore fruit In the 67th minute.

 Muhammad scored his second of the night and Al-Arabi’s third goal of the night to give them the victory and put them in the semi-finals,  where they will be facing Qatar Club l next Tuesday, with the winner will advance to the final match, which will be held on January 6, 2024 at the Grand Hamad Stadium.

Before the injury, Olunga had scored 12 goals, eight in the league, and even though they have not got their title defence off to a flier, he has bailed them out when in trouble.

Al Duhail did not reveal the period Olunga will be on the sidelines but they will be hoping that it is not an extended spell as they are already 11 points behind league leaders Al Sadd after as many games, making their title defence a tall order.