Al Duhail Vs Al Gharafa — Saturday, 28th October, 2017 @ 19:30

Red Knights set to tame Cheetahs

The spotlight match in Round 6 of the QNB Stars League will happen on Saturday, 28th October, when leaders Al Duhail play host to Al Gharafa. It will kick off at 19:30.

Al Duhail are on a high following their big-margin victory over fourth-placed Umm Salal, while Al Gharafa, sixth in the table with five points, will look to compensate for their surprise loss to Al Kharaitiyat in the previous round.

Things will not be easy for The Cheetahs. They have to fire on all cylinders if they are to stop a marauding Al Duhail on their tracks. Frenchman Jean Fernandez’s wards should also hope luck is on their side when they take on Algerian Djamel Belmadi-coached The Red Knights.

Al Duhail have been in superb form with an all-win record. They are ahead of 13-time league champions Al Sadd on better goal difference as both are on 15 points.

Moroccan striker Youssef El Arabi, who is enjoying the form of his life, leads Al Duhail’s charge, ably supported by South Korean professional Nam Tae-Hee, Luis Martin and Karim Boudiaf. Going by the current form, El Arabi is all set to surpass his last season’s top-scorer record of 24 goals. His current tally stands at 10 goals after five rounds. 

Qatar international forward Ali Afif and Tunisian Youssef Msakni are also capable of putting up winning performances. Then, they have reliable Khalifa Abubacar to guard the goal. All these factors contributed to Al Duhail’s excellent run this time as well.

Thus, Al Gharafa face a tough task. They have paid dearly for their inconsistent performances so far this season. Fernandez would hope his players gel well as a team sooner rather than later. Their first victory came against Al Khor in the fourth round after two draws and another defeat.

Slovak Vladimir Weiss, Portuguese Diogo Amado and Chilean Luis Jimenez mainly carry Al Gharafa’s hopes. They will have to tighten their defence that has conceded more goals (seven) than they scored (six). Seasoned goalkeeper Qasim Burham is sure to face stern tests from the rival attackers.

Al Gharafa had beaten Al Duhail in the second round of QSL Cup, but then the latter’s professional players were away on international duty. Yet, just like the ‘Qatar Clasico’ between Al Sadd and Al Rayyan on Friday, much focus will be on Al Duhail and Al Gharafa.