QNB Stars League — Round 8 Preview
The QNB Stars League will resume after a fortnight-long break, due to international commitments, on Saturday, 18th November. The gap also saw the third and fourth rounds of QSL Cup being played.
Three matches each will be held on Saturday and Sunday in Round 8.
Al Gharafa will play host to Al Sailiya and Al Markhiya host Al Ahli at the Al Arabi Stadium in simultaneous kick-off (16:00), while Qatar SC play at home with Al Khor (18:10) on Saturday.
Sunday’s fixtures will be Al Sadd vs Umm Salal (16:00), Al Arabi vs Al Rayyan (16:00) and Al Duhail vs Al Kharaitiyat (18:10), with home teams being mentioned first.
Al Arabi vs Al Rayyan will be the highlight of matches. The intensity is sure to be high even though Al Rayyan are placed high (second) in the standings as against Al Arabi’s ninth position.
Al Rayyan are on 18 points, one less than leaders Al Duhail, whereas Al Arabi have only five after seven rounds of action.
The next to watch out for is the battle between Al Sadd and Umm Salal, the third and fifth-placed team respectively.
Al Sadd, having same number of points and goal difference as Al Rayyan but behind on less number of goals scored, will be keen to keep winning. On the other hand, Umm Salal, on 13 points, will look to put behind their loss to Al Sailiya in the last round.
The Al Gharafa vs Al Sailiya game is also likely to be fought keenly. Al Sailiya are on a high after beating Umm Salal, while Al Gharafa need to show consistency in their performance.
The Cheetahs drew with promoted side Al Markhiya in Round 7 after holding Al Duhail with a gutsy display in the previous week. Al Gharafa are sixth with seven points. They have so far recorded only one victory, but have the most number of draws (four) among all teams.
Al Sailiya broke into the top four with their victory over Umm Salal and are on 15 points.
Going by form, Al Duhail, studded with many star players, should have the last laugh when they welcome Al Kharaitiyat though the latter have the likes of Rachid Tiberkanine to make a difference. Al Duhail and Al Kharaitiyat have collected 19 and six points respectively.
Two matches will be fought between teams with invariably same strength.
Al Markhiya (10th with five points) run into Al Ahli (eighth with five points), while rock bottom Qatar SC (three points) will be desperate to beat Al Khor (11th with four points).
Al Khor will be playing under new coach Nassif Al Bayawi. The Tunisian, who previously coached Saudi Arabian team Al Qadisiya, was appointed to replace Frenchman Laurent Banide who was dismissed after Round 6. Omar Najhi took care of the team in Round 7, where they lost to Al Duhail.
Incidentally, Al Khor also played against Qatar SC in the fourth round of QSL Cup on 13th November.