The 2020-2021 season Ooredoo Cup is all set to kick off on Friday. Round 1 matches will be played on Friday and Saturday at the Al Gharafa and Al Duhail Stadiums.
All 12 QNB Stars League teams are divided into two groups.
Group A has Al Sadd, Al Duhail, Al Sailiya, Al Khor, Al Wakrah and Qatar SC, while Group B consists of Al Rayyan, Al Kharaitiyat, Al Gharafa, Umm Salal, Al Arabi and Al Ahli.
On Friday, Al Rayyan will play Al Kharaitiyat, Al Gharafa will face Umm Salal, both at Al Gharafa Stadium, while Al Arabi will take on Al Ahli at Al Duhail Stadium.
On Saturday, Al Gharafa Stadium will host two Group B matches — Al Sailiya vs Al Khor and Al Wakrah vs Qatar SC.
The match between Al Sadd and Al Duhail in Round 1 (Group A) has been postponed due to the teams’ participation in the 2020 AFC Champions League.
The 2020-2021 season QNB Stars League has taken a break after three weeks of action and all teams are expected to put up good displays in the Ooredoo Cup’s first round.
The tournament opener between Al Rayyan and Al Kharaitiyat features two teams with varying strengths. Al Rayyan had finished runners-up in the recently-concluded 2019-2020 season QNB Stars League with just one point behind Al Duhail, while Al Kharaitiyat got back to the top flight after a gap of one season by emerging as the Second Division champions.
Al Rayyan coach Diego Aguirre and his Al Kharaitiyat counterpart Yousef Adam will undoubtedly be targetting a strong start to their campaign in the tournament.
In the second match at the Al Gharafa Stadium, between Al Gharafa and Umm Salal, will be a battle of contrasts.
Al Gharafa enjoy stability with the level of their foreign professional players, while Umm Salal are undergoing major changes with some players leaving the outfit, and some being recruited.
Umm Salal’s Moroccan coach Aziz Ben Askar, himself their former defender, will be keen to make maximum use of his available resources. His Al Gharafa counterpart Slavisa Jokanovic from Serbia will try to use the Ooredoo Cup to help his players regain their form, especially the likes of Algerian midfielder Adlene Guediora who is back from a long injury layoff, and some youngsters who have been doing well with the side for quite some time now.
At Al Duhail Stadium, Al Arabi will face Al Ahli with the former looking to compensate for a disappointing start to the QNB Stars League season, and the latter aiming to continue their winning run.
Al Ahli are top of the QSL standings with nine points and an all-win record, while Al Arabi are languishing at 11th place in the league table with only one point.
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