Mighty Al Sadd chal­lenge for bot­tom side Kharaitiyat

Al Duhail will take on Al Sha­ha­nia, while Qatar SC and Al Gharafa lock horns to­day

Gulf Times Sport - - SPORT - By Sports Re­porter

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 top­four 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).

Al Sadd coach Je­su­aldo Fer­reira (right) and mid­fielder Pe­dro Miguel ad­dress a press con­fer­ence ahead of their match against Al Kharaitiyat

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