By Sports Reporter/Doha
Al Kharaitiyat face an uphill task when they run into Al Sadd in the QNB Stars League today at the Al Sadd Stadium. The teams go into the match with totally different missions. Al Sadd, who have played only nine matches (due to their AFC Champions League commitments), are currently third in the table with 20 points and need to collect as many points as possible if they are to be in contention for the title.
Al Duhail, who have played 10 games, are the table toppers with 28 points, whereas second-placed Al Rayyan have 21 points. Al Sadd’s matches against Al Khor from Week 5 and Al Duhail from Week 9 are pending owing to their AFC Champions League commitments. They have been scheduled for 28th November and 11th December respectively. The Wolves possess the best attack and have scored 38 goals, conceding nine to have a goal difference of +29 (the most by any team). They have won six games, drawn two and lost one (to Al Ahli).
Al Kharaitiyat, who lost 0-5 to Al Sailiya in Week 11, are placed at the bottom with only three points and face relegation. They have dismissed Moroccan coach Abdelaziz El Amri and handed over the reins to Wesam Rizk. Their only victory came against Al Gharafa. They have a goal difference of -23, having scored eight goals and conceded 31. Ahead of the game, Al Sadd coach Jesualdo Ferreira dismissed the suggestion that it will an easy match for his team. “Some may think that facing Al Kharaitiyat will be easy as they are the bottom-placed team in the league table. In fact, the clash will be difficult. We have already had similar experiences. We will put up our best to win,” Ferreira
The Portuguese manager said he was not ready to underestimate any team if his team wants to win the title. “Al Sadd have lost the league title twice before when we failed to win against teams from the middle of the league or the last places. This has made me learn an important lesson — not to underestimate any team in the Qatar league. We are expecting a strong reaction from the Al Kharaitiyat team after they changed the coach. We only think about providing our best regardless of the conditions,” said Ferreira.
Al Kharaitiyat’s fitness coach Ahmed Badarudeen said his team need to improve their mental approach and play without fear. “We have focused on the psychological aspects of players and the team is preparing hard for the Al Sadd game. We have noticed that the players are doing a great deal of training, but in the games they show fear, not because of the opponents, but because of the defeats,” said Badarudeen.
“When we look at the rankings, the teams that concede many goals are in a bad situation. The problem may be that some clubs focus more on attackers when they attract players and ignore the line of defence. The management has contracted with good players, both overseas and Qataris. There are still 11 matches. We have to make up for the setbacks in the first leg and put in more efforts. Then, we will have a great opportunity to stay in the league,” said Badarudeen.
In another match today, Al Duhail will take on Al Shahania at the Al Duhail Stadium. Duhail are the leaders after the first leg with 28 points. The Red Knights are the only unbeaten team in the tournament. They have nine wins and one draw, with one game in hand against Al Sadd.
Al Duhail have the best defence that has conceded only six goals from 10 games. They scored 27 goals to have a goal difference of +21. Only Sadd (38) have scored more goals than Al Duhail and have better goal difference (+29).
Al Duhail coach Nabil Maaloul underlined the importance of the game when he spoke at the pre-match Press conference. “This is an important match for us because it is the first game of the second leg. We want to continue at the same pace and we know that we are having a difficult game against a team that faced a number of difficulties. In the first leg, they managed to present themselves well in many matches,” said Maaloul whose team will be without regular goalkeeper Amine Lecomte and defender Lucas Mendes.
Al Shahania are also in great form. They are eighth in the table with 12 points, having won and drawn three games, and lost five. They have a goal difference of -8 after scoring 10 goals and conceded 18.
Al Shahania have not tasted defeat in their last three matches. They beat Al Sailiya in Week 9 and then drew with Umm Salal and Al Gharafa.
In third match of the day, Qatar SC and Al Gharafa will clash in what is expected to be a thriller. Gharafa are sixth in the standings with 15 points. They have won and lost four games each, and drawn three times to have a goal difference of +7 (22 goals for and 15 against).
The Cheetahs have the third-best attack line in the QNB Stars League that has scored 22 goals so far. They are behind only Al Sadd (38) and Al Duhail (27). Al Gharafa, who were held goalless by Al Shahania last week, will be keen to be back on the winning path and thus start their second-leg campaign on a victorious note. More so because they are eager to finish among the top-four teams. On the other hand, Qatar SC, who lost 0-2 to Al Rayyan in Week 11, are in the 10th place with 11 points. They have won three games, drawn six and lost two to have a goal difference of -7 (12 goals for and 19 against).
Overall The Kings have been enjoying a good run with a series of positive results ever since Argentinian coach Sergio Batista took over the side. In the four games under him, Qatar SC won two, drew one and lost one. The match will also be noted for the star presence of Dutchman Wesley Sneijder (Al Gharafa) and Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o (Qatar SC).
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