Sixth placed Umm Salal is next side under the spotlight as we look at the progress of the teams in the QSL during the international break. The Orange Fortress started the campaign well, picking up a opening day win and going onto register three draws in the league, including a hard-fought point with reigning QSL champions Al Rayyan.
Umm Salal reverted to form after their strong start to their campaign, dropping points to top four sides, whilst drawing or defeating sides around them in the QSL standings. In mid December, two defeats including a 8-0 thrashing at the hands of Al Sadd saw Umm Salal relieve long-term coach Bülent Uygun of his duties, almost three years to the day that he was hired by the club.
Youth team coach Mahmoud Jaber was selected to take on the team, and the Egyptian coach had an immediate impact with the side as they registered a 3-1 in his first game in charge against Al Wakrah. Unfortunately results remained inconsistent going into the final weeks of January.
The January signings of Syrian striker Mahmoud Al-Mawas and Bahraini international Faouzi Aaish certainly did much to boost the moral of the side. The new faces did much to renew the confidence in the team, and Umm Salal are currently on a impressive six game undefeated streak in the league. The highlight of which was the 3-1 victory over league leaders Lekhwiya, which stopped the Red Knights own long undefeated streak in the league.
To date, Umm Salal has picked up seven wins, nine draws and seven defeats in the league campaign. Over the years, Umm Salal have been consistently battling to finish in the top four spaces, so heading into the final three games fifteen points behind the Qatar Cup places will be a source of frustration for the Umm Salal management.
Heading into the final games of the season, and the best Umm Salal can aim for is a fifth place finish in the QSL standings, and could close the gap of seven points on Al Gharafa ahead of them. First up for Umm Salal will be a match against their fifth place rival Gharafa, who are without a head coach following Pedro Caixinia leaving the Cheetahs. Umm Salal will then take on relegation threatened Al Wakrah, and Mahmoud Jaber’s side round off the season with a game against Al Arabi.
Momentum will be crucial for Umm Salal heading into their final games of the seaon if they are to finish in fifth place in the standings. Thankfully for Umm Salal, they have already showed that form is on their side heading into the final three games of the campaign.