Al Sadd, Al Duhail in battle for supremacy


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Al Sadd play host to Al Duhail on Tuesday in a QNB Stars League match rescheduled from Week 9 due to the former’s AFC Champions League semifinal against Iran’s Persepolis which they lost on aggregate.

The kick-off is at the Al Sadd Stadium at 18:30.

All eyes are on the game as it is going to be fought between the two best teams around. Al Duhail are the defending champions and league leaders with 36 points, while Al Sadd are close behind with one goal less.

Al Sadd are coming off a 4-1 victory over Al Shahania, while Al Duhail were held to a 1-1 draw by Qatar SC in Week 15. It was the third time that The Red Knights were dropping points this season and second successive time they were held to a draw, having had to play out a 2-2 draw with Al Rayyan in the previous round. Nevertheless, they maintained their unbeaten run, the only team to do so this season.

Interestingly, Al Duhail’s first-leg game against Al Rayyan had also ended in a draw.

Both Al Sadd and Al Duhail are level on the number of victories (11). Al Duhail have a goal difference of +26 (36 goals for and 10 against).

However, The Wolves have the best goal difference among the 12 teams – +49 (62 goals for and 13 against). Al Sadd also have one defeat (against Al Ahli in the first leg) and two draws against their name.

The contest will also be noted on the tactical front.

Al Sadd’s Portuguese coach Jesualdo Ferreira has had over 30 years’ experience in the game, and has managed a host of top European sides including the likes of Malaga in Spain and Panathinaikos in Greece.

Al Duhail’s master Nabil Maaloul, who replaced Algerian Djamel Belmadi ahead of the 2018-19 season QNB Stars League, has an impressive track record in coaching. He guided his country Tunisia at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Al Sadd’s attacks will be led by Algerian striker Baghdad Bounedjah, who  last week became the Qatar league’s all-time top scorer in a single season when he took his personal tally to 28 goals after scoring twice against Al Shahania. He surpassed Brazilian striker Clemerson Soares’ record of 27 goals set in the 2007-08 season for Al Gharafa.

Al Sadd also have Hassan Al Haydous and Akram Afif in attack, while their midfield will be held together by Spaniards Xavi Hernandez and Gabi Fernandez.

In defence, they have Asia’s best player Abdelkarim Hassan among others.

Moroccan striker Yousef El Arabi will spearhead Al Duhail’s offence, in the company of Almoez Ali and Paolo Edmilson.

Though they will continue to miss injured midfielder Nam Tae-Hee, they have the services of the likes of Karim Boudiaf and Luis Martin in the middle, and Lucas Mendes, Mohammed Mousa and Murad Naji at the rear.