QNB Stars League Week 10 — Thursday Preview
The QNB Stars League’s Week 10 matches on Thursday will be Al Gharafa vs Al Arabi (16:00) and Umm Salal vs Al Rayyan (18:10). Both matches are at the Al Gharafa Stadium.
Al Gharafa vs Al Arabi
Both Al Gharafa and Al Arabi are eager to garner some points as they are lying ninth and 10th in the standings with only seven and six points respectively.
Al Gharafa had put up a strong fight against Al Duhail despite going down 2-3 while Al Arabi had to settle for a one-all draw with freshers Al Markhiya in Week 9.
The return from injury of influential midfielder Vladimir Weiss should delight Al Gharafa coach Jean Fernandez. The Slovak had come off the bench after the hour mark and scored their second goal in the last round.
Frenchman Fernandez would hope the likes of Weiss, Almahdi Ali, Diego Amado and Othman Al Yahri come good against Al Arabi.
The Dream Team, who entrusted Croat Luka Bonacic with the charge of coaching the side after dismissing Tunisian Qais Yaakoubi at the end of Week 7, will be all the more hungrier for a victory and move away from the relegation zone.
They have players like Diego Jardel and Khalfan Ibrahim (returning from a two-match injury layoff) to bank on. They will sorely miss Mardik Mardikian through injury and Hamad Ismail through suspension.
Umm Salal vs Al Rayyan
Al Rayyan will target nothing less than a win when they face Umm Salal, who morale is low at the moment, having lost two of their last three matches. The other one was drawn. They also went down from the top four in the process.
They have a lethal attack line, with the trio of Abderrazaq Hamdallah (eight), Sebastian Soria (seven) and Rodrigo Tabata (six) contributing 21 of their 26 goals scored so far.
The Lions (24 points) will also be keen to keep pace with Al Duhail as just one point separates them.
However, Al Rayyan will miss the services of Sultan Al Kuwari, who has been ruled out for a month with a leg injury he sustained during their 3-2 win over Al Gharafa in Week 9.
Umm Salal will be relieved that Maher Youssef and Adel Alawi will be back from their suspensions against Al Rayyan.
Also, Juad Ahnash and Mohammed Sayed have recovered from their injuries and that should strengthen Egyptian coach Mahmoud Jaber’s side, which is fifth on 14 points.