Umm Salal vs Al Gharafa — Saturday, 20th January, 2018 @ 18:35, Al Gharafa Stadium
The encounter between Umm Salal and Al Gharafa in Week 13 of the QNB Stars League promises to be enthralling. The kick-off is at 18:35 at the Al Gharafa Stadium, which hosts Umm Salal’s home games as well.
Umm Salal are fifth with 19 points, just one adrift of Al Sailiya, following their victory over Al Kharaitiyat, while Al Gharafa moved up from seventh to sixth with their win against Al Ahli. Both have 14 points, but The Cheetahs were placed sixth on better goal difference.
Al Gharafa’s new coach Bulent Uygun thus succeeded in his first test. He will now look forward to the clash with Umm Salal, whom the Turk coached for four seasons. Obviously, the game is sure to be an absorbing affair.
It will also be noted for the tactical manouevres of both coaches. Mahmoud Jaber, who replaced Uygun at Umm Salal, is also a shrewd tactician. He will just hope The Orange Fortress keep winning, like they did in the beginning of this season before suffering a mid-phase slump that saw them being displaced from the fourth position in the standings by Al Sailiya.
Al Gharafa have many key performers in their ranks such as Wesley Sneijder, who made his debut in Qatar against Al Ahli, Ahmed Alaeldin, who scored both goals against Al Ahli, Muad Hassan, Fahad Al Shammari, Othman Al Yahri and Almahdi Ali.
It has to be seen how effectively the Umm Salal defence, led by Moroccan Adel Rhaily, contains rival attacks. Umm Salal are generally good at defence and have conceded the least number of goals (17), along with Al Rayyan, among all teams.
At goal, Basel Zaidan gives ample support to first-choice Baba Malick.
In attack, they have Ivorian striker Yannick Sagbo, Syrian forward Mahmoud Al Mawas and Tunisian attacking midfielder Oussama Darragi, who shone against Al Kharaitiyat with two goals on his debut.