By Sports Reporter/Doha
Leaders Al Sadd and second-placed Al Duhail will resume their QNB Stars League campaign today.
Sadd will play host to Al Khor at 7:10pm, while defending champs Duhail have a much tougher task on their hand as they locks horns with third-placed Al Sailiya in an early kick-off.
Sadd will target nothing less than a victory against Al Khor. Sadd are leading the standings with 38 points as against the nine points of Al Khor, who are placed 11th and still face relegation. The Wolves have the most number of victories (12) after 15 rounds. They have scored the most number of goals (65) as well and have a goal difference of league-leading 51. They drew two matches, while the only time they suffered defeat was at the hands of Al Ahli. Al Khor, on the other hand, have only two wins, three draws and 10 losses to show for their efforts. And they have to punch way above their weight if they are to stay away from the danger zone.
Al Sadd, coached by Portuguese Jesualdo Ferreira, have many star players in their ranks, while Al Khor, under Frenchman Bernard Casoni, have reinforced the squad in the January transfer window. Al Sadd coach Ferreira said: “We did not have complete training sessions because of the absence of Qatar internationals and that affected us adversely even though I know that they were doing duty for the country, in an admirable manner. I wish our players will perform the same way as they had been so far this season.
“Our players need to show high concentration in the remaining seven games if we are to win the shield, which is very important to us. I hope we will put it across Al Khor. We will miss captain Xavi Hernandez through an injury,” he added.
Meanwhile, Al Sailiya are expected to give reigning champions Al Duhail a good run for their money. The battle between second and third-placed teams is sure to evoke much interest. Al Duhail have 36 points, two less than Al Sadd and eight more than Al Sailiya.
Al Duhail are under new Portuguese coach Rui Faria, who replaced Tunisian Nabil Maaloul during the winter break, and will be keen to displace Al Sadd from the top of the table. On the other hand, Al Sailiya need as many points as possible in order to stay in the top-four bracket. They are being coached by Tunisian Sami Trabelsi for long. The Peregrines on Wednesday announced the renewal of his contract for three more years.
Trabelsi, who first took charge of the side in June, 2013, took them to the Amir’s Cup final in the 2013-14 season and was adjudged the best coach that year. Both teams have star players in their ranks.
Al Duhail include Yousef El Arabi, Paolo Edmilson, Mohamed Moosa, Bassam al-Rawi, Sultan al-Breik, while Al Sailiya have the likes of Nadir Belhadj, Majdi Siddiq, Rachid Tiberkanine, Abdelkader Ilyas and Mohamed al-Marri.
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