17 Feb 2020
Doha, 17 February 2020. Tournament hosts Aspire Academy claimed top spot in group A after playing out a 4-4 draw with reigning champions Glasgow Rangers on Match Day 5 of the 2020 Al Kass International Cup played at Aspire Academy pitch 5.
It was humdinger of a match with everything from blunders, blinders and passion that produced the first drawn match of the tournament. Aspire lead all the time during the eight-goal thriller. Both sides were already assured of qualification so made plenty of changes from their respective victories over Suwon Samsung, Aspire fielding just four of the players who started the opener and Rangers selecting five of their first choice XI.
Aspire opened the scoring two minutes into the match Mubarak Mamza turned in the cross from Abdulrahman Al-Dosari. It was 2-0 on eight minutes as Rangers’ defence went to sleep and Mohammed Al-Quraishi showed fine control before firing a left-foot shot past Scott Cowie.
Charlie Lindsay pulled the Glasgow side back into the match with a delightful free-kick that beat goalkeeper Amir Katoul despite his effort and that was 3 goals scored just after 13 minutes.
Four minutes later Aspire restored their two-goal lead when Talal Al-Raeesi was given plenty of space and he let fly from long range, sending the ball just out of Cowie’s reach.
A fifth goal followed on 29 minutes as Rangers reduced the arrears with a well-taken effort by powerful striker Adedire Mebude who held off two challenges before scoring with an angled drive. A goalkeeping error by Rangers keeper Cowie gifted Aspire their fourth goal on 38th minutes when he parried Al-Quraishi’s cross straight into the path of Abdulaziz Al-Naimi who made no mistake.
Rangers got it back to one goal difference yet again when captain Lindsay tucked the ball under the keeper after Mebude had flicked it into his path.
The second half was quieter in terms of goals and the only goal was for Rangers who finally grabbed an equalizer in the 88th minute as Lindsay’s flick sent through Ure and his shot was parried to Rory Wilson to score. Wilson had only come on two minutes earlier but there was a hint of offside about his goal.
The first-half goalfest had suggested the two sides were going to produce the highest score in Al Kass International Cup history, but the more subdued second period means the record remains at 10 goals in a game (Barcelona 6, Manchester City 4 in 2014 and Benfica 7, Aspire 3 in 2018).