QNB Stars League Round 8 — Al Sadd vs Umm Salal
Al Sadd and Umm Salal are two teams who lost ground in the last round of QNB Stars League. The Wolves still stayed in the top four with a 2-1 victory over Al Ahli, while The Orange Fortress slipped to fifth in the standings after being displaced by Al Sailiya, who beat them by a 3-2 margin, riding on Wagner Ribeiro’s two goals.
The spotlight will be on Al Sadd and Umm Salal as they clash in Round 8 at the Al Sadd Stadium on 19th November. Both teams will be keen to stay in title contention and are sure to go all out in search of a victory. Thirteen-time league champions Al Sadd, under Portuguese Jesualdo Ferreira, will look to upstage leaders Al Duhail and Al Rayyan, who leapfrogged them to second by virtue of having scored more number of goals (19 as against The Wolves’ 17) after they were tied on points (18) and goal difference (nine).
On the other hand, Egyptian Mahmoud Jaber-coached Umm Salal will be keen to storm back into the top-four bracket.
Al Sadd will be bolstered by the recovery from injuries of key players such as midfield maestro Xavi Hernandez, Algerian attacking midfielder Jugurtha Hamroun and Boualem Khoukhi. Their players have not found their full rhythm, as admitted by Ferreira, and that reflected on their ‘Qatar Clasico’ loss to Al Rayyan in Round 6. The earlier they achieve that, the better for them in the title chase.
Algerian striker Baghdad Bounedjah and Qatar international Hassan Al Haidous add teeth to their attack.
Umm Salal have one of the best defences in the 12-team league, so Al Sadd attackers may find it hard to breach that. Overall, the team has been doing well since the start of this season, collecting 13 points from four victories, two defeats and one draw.
Ivorian striker Yannick Sagbo leads Umm Salal’s challenge and Syrian professional Mahmoud Al Mawas lends stability to their midfield.
Meanwhile, Al Sadd bowed out of the QSL Cup, played during the league’s two-week break, while Umm Salal are in with a chance to reach the semifinals as they are tied on five points alongside Al Arabi, Al Markhiya and Al Ahli.