Al Duhail vs Al Gharafa: Tough tussle on cards
Al Duhail will lock horns with Al Gharafa in a thrilling QNB Stars League Week 6 game on Saturday, 22nd September. The kick-off is at 20:05.
Al Duhail are third in the table on goal difference although they have the same number of points (10) as Al Sadd. Al Rayyan occupied the top spot with 11 points after beating Al Arabi 1-0 in Week 5, where the matches of Al Sadd and Al Duhail were rescheduled due to the duo’s AFC Champions League quarterfinal second-leg commitments on Monday.
While Al Sadd progressed to the semifinals by defeating Iran’s Esteghlal, Al Duhail lost out to Persepolis, also of Iran.
Al Duhail had won the first leg in Doha 1-0, but lost the second in Tehran by a 1-3 margin to lose 2-3 on aggregate. It was also The Red Knights first-ever defeat in this year’s AFC Champions League.
Coming to the QNB Stars League, defending champions Al Duhail have three wins to their credit from four matches. They drew the other fixture with Al Rayyan.
Al Duhail’s charge are led by Moroccan striker Yousef El Arabi, South Korean attacking midfielder Nam Tae-Hee, Brazilian forward Paolo Edmilson, Karim Boudiaf, Almoez Ali, Lucas Mendes and young Bassam Al Rawi.
Al Gharafa, who had finished a creditable fourth last season, have two victories from five games and are placed sixth with seven points.
The Cheetahs will also look to make up for their 2-3 loss to Umm Salal last week.
Coached by Frenchman Christian Gourcuff, who replaced Turk Bulent Uygun at the start of this season, Al Gharafa’s main players are Dutch star Wesley Sneijder, Iranian striker Mehdi Taremi, Slovakian attacking midfielder Vladimir Weiss, Brazilian midfielder Diego Amado, Othman Al Yahri, Abdelaziz Hatem and goalkeeper Yusuf Hassan.
Al Duhail are also under a new coach. Tunisian Nabil Maaloul replaced Algerian Djamel Belmadi ahead of this season, so the first face-off between Maaloul and Gourcuff adds to the excitement.