Al Sadd vs Al Arabi — Saturday, 17th February, 2018 @ 18:55, Al Sadd Stadium
The QNB Stars League Week 17 encounter between Al Sadd and Al Arabi is dubbed as the Qatar Derby, featuring two teams with a large fan base in the country. The kick-off is at 16:45 at the Al Sadd Stadium.
The teams enter the battle in contrasting moods and with different objectives. Al Sadd are placed second in the standings with 40 points. Only two points separate them from leaders Al Duhail, while The Wolves left Al Rayyan behind at third spot by a five-point margin after both were tied for long on points and Al Sadd were placed ahead on better goal difference.
Al Sadd’s confidence will be all the more high after their 2-0 victory over Al Rayyan in the Qatar Clasico. As for Al Arabi, they got beaten by Al Ahli 4-0, a result The Dream Team would best love to forget.
It also saw Al Arabi, coached by Croat Luka Bonacic, slip from ninth to 11th in the standings with 12 points. They thus suffered their eighth defeat in this season’s QNB Stars League.
Al Sadd have 13 wins, the same as Al Duhail, while Al Arabi have only two to show for their efforts.
Al Sadd, under Portuguese Jesualdo Ferreira, have the likes of Spanish World Cup and European Championship winner Xavi Hernandez, Algerian attacking midfielder Jugurtha Hamroun, who is in terrific form, Qatar international Hassan Al Haydous, Ali Asad as well as new recruits Akram Afif, signed on loan from Villarreal, Spain, and Abdelkarim Hassan.
Hamroun is their top scorer with nine goals, followed by Al Haydous (eight).
Above all, Al Sadd have Baghdad Bounedjah back from a nagging injury that saw him miss many games. And the Algerian spearhead had scored against Al Rayyan last week, Hamroun being the other scorer.
Al Arabi, in a bid to make a turnaround in their fortunes, took on board a few players in the winter transfer window. Ghanaian striker Kwame Karikari leads their charge, supported by Khalfan Ibrahim, Diego Jardel and Talal Al Balooshi.
In defence, they have Iraqi Saad Natiq and Croat Ivan Foster, and goalkeeper Masoud Zeraie is also a seasoned campaigner.
Al Sadd, Al Duhail, Al Rayyan and Al Gharafa are Qatar’s representatives in the 2018 AFC Champions League. Al Sadd have been drawn into Group C alongside the UAE’s Al Wasl, Iran’s Persepolis and Uzbekistan’s Nasaf.
Al Sadd had beaten Al Arabi 3-1 in the first phase.