Philippe Coutinho made his long-awaited debut for Al Duhail in the Qatar Stars League and it all went to plan for the Brazilian.
Coutinho, who Barcelona paid Liverpool €140 million for six seasons ago, scored his first goal in his first game for Hernán Crespo’s side and also played a part in the opener scored by Kenya and Harambee Stars captain Michael Olunga, helping Al-Duhail to beat Al Markhiya 2-1 at Al Janoub Stadium.
Coutinho, wearing the number 9 behind his back. featured in the starting XI and didn’t disappoint. During the opening half, he left several details of his quality – he was brought down in the box while weaving his way past three defenders in 16 minutes. Olunga rifled in the resulting penalty to put Al-Duhail ahead.
Driss Fettouhi equalised for the hosts before the half-hour mark but the visitors were back in front in stoppage time as the first half came to a close. A free-kick was awarded 25 meters out on the left-hand side and despite the tight angle, Coutinho managed to bend the ball around a four-man wall and into the top corner – a stunning delivery to get off the mark.
The result puts Coutinho’s team provisionally third in the league table – now they must wait to see how Al-Wakra gets on against Al-Rayyan (Rodrigo Moreno has three goals in three games for Jardim’s side). Al-Rayyan are second, two points ahead of Al-Duahail and one behind Al-Sadd, who leads the table although they have played one game more than the rest.