Bounedjah & El Arabi… Scoring machines
The big match between Al Sadd and Al Duhail on Friday assumes much significance. It is to be played by two strong contenders for the QNB Stars League title. Al Duhail are on top of the league table with 22 points, followed by Al Sadd, who have one less, after eight weeks of action.
The high-profile encounter also brings to the fore two spearheads — Moroccan Youssef El Arabi (Al Duhail) and Algerian Baghdad Bounedjah (Al Sadd) — who are game-changers.
Both have the ability to single-handedly win matches for their teams, who rely a lot on their scoring prowess. Much focus will be on them when Al Sadd and Al Duhail are in action and it will be no different this time.
The competition between El Arabi and Bounedjah is not something new. It started last season when El Arabi emerged as the league’s top scorer with 24 goals and Bounedjah the runner-up with one goal less.
El Arabi continued from where he left off and has so far struck 14 goals, including a hat-trick in their 8-2 victory over Al Kharaitiyat last week. Bounedjah, meanwhile, has five against his name. But then, he missed their first three league matches due to an injury he suffered during the season-opening Sheikh Jassim Cup. He also missed the first two rounds of QSL Cup played during the break between Weeks 3 and 4.
According to the figures and statistics issued by Statis Company, the official statistics provider of the QNB Stars League, El Arabi has given one assist as well and Bounedjah two. El Arabi spent 772.3 minutes on the pitch and Bounedjah 433.0.
They both are dangerous strikers who can put the ball in the back of the net from acute angles given the slightest of chances. They have good physique and are agile as well.
Perhaps, they are able to deliver because of the huge support given by team-mates, be it from the midfield or wings. In El Arabi’s case, there are Youssef Msakny, Nam Tae-Hee and Ismail Mohammed to do the spadework, while Bounedjah gets the backing of Xavi Hernandez, Hassan Al Haydous and Jugurtha Hamroun.
It remains to be seen who will gain an upper hand in Friday’s game. Will El Arabi’s tally swell? Or will Bounedjah come out of the Al Sadd Stadium as the star?