QNB Stars League — Week 14 Preview
The QNB Stars League’s Week 14 fixtures are Al Gharafa vs Al Sadd (Al Gharafa Stadium, 18:40) on Thursday, Al Sailiya vs Al Markhiya (Al Ahli Stadium, 16:30), Qatar SC vs Al Arabi (Qatar SC Stadium, 18:40) on Friday, Umm Salal vs Al Ahli (Al Gharafa Stadium, 16:30), Al Khor vs Al Kharaitiyat (Al Khor Stadium, 16:30) and Al Duhail vs Al Rayyan (Al Duhail Stadium, 18:40) on Saturday.
Al Duhail vs Al Rayyan and Al Gharafa vs Al Sadd are the top draws among the fixtures. It is a foregone conclusion that both will be edge-of-the-seat thrillers. Naturally, high stakes are involved when the top four sides face against each other.
Al Duhail will lead the standings even if they lose, for they have a four-point lead on top ahead of Al Sadd and Al Rayyan. The Red Knights are sure to go all out against Al Rayyan as the latter are also in title contention.
Al Duhail still remain the only undefeated side in the tournament. However, they only managed to scrape past Al Arabi last week, for a change. Karim Boudiaf scored the only goal of the match when big guns Youssef El Arabi, Youssef Msakni and Nam Tae-Hee failed to fire.
Both Al Sadd and Al Gharafa are on a high too, coming off wins. Al Sadd fired six past fourth-placed Al Sailiya without any response, while The Cheetahs suddenly look an all-new side with back-to-back victories, against Al Ahli and Umm Salal.
Al Sailiya stayed fourth despite suffering setbacks continuously in the last five rounds, where they went winless. The Peregrines (20 points) face bottom side Al Markhiya and cannot afford any more slip-ups if they are to stay in the top four as Umm Salal are just behind them with one point less.
Al Markhiya are likely to debut their new signing, Brazilian attacking midfielder Eric de Oliveira. They are the side to have scored the least number of goals (eight) in the QNB Stars League. The Oryxes lost the services of Ghanaian striker Kwame Karikari who has just joined Al Arabi.
The Brazilian attacking midfielder has vast experience playing in the leagues of Ukraine, Japan, Romania and Saudi Arabia. He last represented Romanian side Viitorul Constanta.
Umm Salal will look to get back to the winning path and break into the top four when they take on Al Ahli, who are struggling ever since the second phase started.
Qatar SC gained the most from Week 13 as they jumped from last to ninth with 11 points in the QNB Stars League standings and The Kings will be keen to build on that when they face Al Arabi, who too badly need some points as they languish at the 10th position with 10 points.
Al Khor and Al Kharaitiyat will fight it out as both sides stare at relegation.