QNB Stars League — Week 10 Highlights
The QNB Stars League’s Week 10 action, which featured two matches each on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, saw excitement aplenty. As the scorelines indicate, the matches were fought more closely. A total of 22 goals were scored compared to the previous week’s 17.
The first five places remained unchanged, notwithstanding the results. Leaders and holders Al Duhail kept winning although they faced a stiff resistance before overcoming a fighting Al Markhiya 2-1. The promoted side gave the marauding Red Knights a scare by netting the equaliser within six minutes and creating scoring opportunities.
Djamel Belmadi’s men thus registered their ninth victory to be on 28 points and stay unbeaten, whereas Al Markhiya stood 11th. More importantly, they widened the gap with Al Rayyan to three points.
Al Rayyan continued in the second position despite being held 1-1 by a determined Umm Salal, who arrested their slump to some extent. Al Rayyan took their tally to 25 points, while Umm Salal stayed fifth on 15.
The two dropped points may prove crucial for Al Rayyan as they try to keep pace with Al Duhail in the title race. Star striker Abderrazaq Hamdallah had to limp off the field early in the match with a pulled thigh muscle and that obviously affected their scoring. Although Rodrigo Tabata, who scored their opening goal, and Sebastian Soria tried hard to further breach a resolute Umm Salal defence, the latter held fort.
Al Sadd got the better of a fighting Al Khor 3-2 to earn three valuable points in their title chase. Al Sadd now have 24 points. The all-new Khalifa International Stadium once again proved to be a lucky ground for The Wolves as they had defeated Al Rayyan in last season’s Emir’s Cup final.
Al Gharafa helped themselves to the seventh spot from ninth by defeating Al Arabi 3-1 in a much-anticipated game. It was a far better showing by The Cheetahs, who badly needed a win and French coach Jean Fernandez’s surely knows no bounds as they have 10 points.
The Dream Team’s woes compounded having been unable to make a headway even after playing three matches under Croatian coach Luka Bonacic.
However, Al Gharafa suffered a setback as influential player Vladimir Weiss has almost been ruled out of the season. The Slovak midfielder fell on to the ground towards the end of the first half with acute pain on his right knee as he had not fully recovered from an injury even though he scored against Al Rayyan in the previous week after coming on as a substitute.
Al Ahli regained their sixth position in the standings with 11 points by upsetting Al Sailiya 2-1. The Brigadiers’, who were without injured captain Meshaal Abdullah, fared well to inflict a second successive defeat on Al Sailiya, whose form has dipped of late.
Qatar SC punched way above their weight as they brought Al Kharaitiyat to their knees with a 3-2 win. That lifted them from the very bottom to 10th with seven points.