Al Duhail should have it easy against basement club Al Kharaitiyat on Saturday but they will be fully aware that the limelight this week would be on Al Sadd who are expected to seal their 15th QNB Stars League title on Sunday when they take on Umm Salal.
With a yawning 13-point gap between the two Qatar giants and only five more rounds to go, a win for Al Sadd tomorrow will help them wrap up the title with four matches to spare, irrespective of other results in the tournament.
But that is not preventing Al Duhail from pressing on with their bid to confirm second place, with coach Sabri Lamouchi saying, “We will be playing this match with all our strength.”
“We will go into the Al Kharaitiyat match to win. Our preparations for the next match were focused mainly on the physical recovery of the players after they appeared tired in our match against Al Shamal in the Amir Cup because of the hectic schedule. We will play this match with all our strength,” said the Frenchman.
“There will be no changes in the squad, the options are less and we will not think of introducing new faces. Rather, we will field the team that is set because we want to win not only this match, but all upcoming games.
“After any victory, work is easier at the level of physical recovery and on the mental level, but we must not forget that this team played many matches in a short period and lost the Qatar Cup final (to Al Sadd). And we also competed in the FIFA Club World Cup. We played successive matches against our direct competitors,” said Lamouchi.
Al Duhail player Abdullah al-Ahraq said, “The match against Al Kharaitiyat will be difficult. The team was not psychologically prepared against Al Shamal in the Amir Cup and physical exhaustion affected our performance, but thank God, we came out with victory.
“In every match in the league, we play to win. Now, we are thinking about the Al Kharaitiyat match and we will work hard to come out with a positive result.”
Al Kharaitiyat coach Wesam Rizik added that his team would aim to put on their best performance against the defending champions.
“Undoubtedly, it is a difficult match and everyone realizes the great strength of Al Duhail team, which includes in its ranks many distinguished players. Considering the position of the two teams in the league, we must redouble our efforts and strive to do our best, and not commit mistakes,” said Rizik.
“We respect the Al Duhail team, but we still have great confidence in our players despite the team’s decline in the rankings. We went through the pre-match training well and there is a desire among the players to provide the best level during this match despite it being a difficult match against a strong team.
“We have corrected the mistakes that occurred during the previous matches and we asked the players not to be afraid of matches and to double focus. We still have the opportunity to collect points that can help us stay in the first division. God-willing, we will provide the required level,” added Rizk.
Al Kharaitiyat have just six points from 17 games, 15 of which they lost and mostly likely would end their campaign in the 12th and last place as Al Khor, who are in 11th spot, are eight points ahead.