Umm Salal vs Al Sailiya — Friday, 23rd February, 2018 @ 19:00, Al Gharafa Stadium
The encounter between Umm Salal and Al Sailiya in Week 18 of the QNB Stars League will catch the attention for the main reason that much is at stake for both teams, one trying to displace the other from the fourth position. The kick-off is at 19:00 at the Al Gharafa Stadium.
Al Sailiya are on 25 points, just one above Umm Salal. Al Gharafa are breathing down the duo’s neck with their bid to break into the top four. The Cheetahs are in good form of late under Turkish coach Bulent Uygun, who took over mid-season, and with January recruits, Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder and Iranian striker Mehdi Taremi, in their ranks.
So Al Sailiya and Umm Salal cannot afford to drop points if they are to cherish finishing in the top quartet and qualify for the Qatar Cup.
Umm Salal were off to a good start in this season’s QNB Stars League and that saw them occupy the fourth position, behind Al Duhail, Al Sadd and Al Rayyan until Week 6. However, Al Sailiya pushed The Orange Fortress down to fifth place with a 3-2 win in Week 7 on 4th November.
The Peregrines then fared well till they suffered a mid-season slump. Yet, they stayed fourth.
Al Sailiya recovered from their 0-2 shock defeat to Qatar SC in Week 16 by holding third-placed Al Rayyan 2-2 last week. In the process, they survived a late scare in the form of a penalty kick, that Al Rayyan’s Rodrigo Tabata hit against the post.
However, Umm Salal are coming off a 0-5 loss to table toppers Al Duhail in Moroccan coach Talal El Karkouri’s second match in charge after he replaced Egyptian Mahmoud Jaber. By contrast, Tunisian Sami Trabelsi has been coaching Al Sailiya for long and knows well how to bring the best out of his players.
Al Sailiya had started their preparations on Sunday evening. Training sessions mainly focus on improving players’ fitness and rectifying some tactical errors.
They have the likes of Wagner Ribeiro (11 goals), Temurkhuja Abdukholikov (seven), Nadir Belhadj and Valentin Lazar. And midfielder Majdi Siddiq will be back from a one-match suspension.
Ivorian striker Yannick Sagbo (eight goals) leads Umm Salal’s charge, supported by Adel Rhaili, Mahmoud Mawas, Rami Fayez, Ismail Ibrahim and others.