Keen tactical battles on cards in QNB Stars League Week 2
The QNB Stars League’s Week 2 promises many exciting encounters, particularly the one between Al Sadd and Al Arabi dubbed as Qatar Derby.
The fixtures are Al Rayyan vs Umm Salal (17:30) and Al Ahli vs Qatar SC (19:40) at the Al Sadd Stadium on Friday, 10th August, Al Gharafa vs Al Sailiya (17:30) and Al Duhail vs Al Khor (19:40) at the Khalifa International Stadium on Saturday, 11th August, and Al Shahania vs Al Kharaitiyat (17:30) and Al Sadd vs Al Arabi (19:40) at the Al Sadd Stadium on Sunday, 12th August.
Al Sadd look well set to sustain the momentum after scoring the biggest-margin victory (6-0) in the first round, against Al Kharaitiyat. The Wolves hold an edge over Al Arabi, whose morale is also high following their win over Al Khor.
Al Arabi would expect their new striker Franco Arizala from Colombia to keep firing as he had scored their all-important goal against Al Khor.
Reigning champions Al Duhail should have it easy against Al Khor even though The Red Knights are depleted with injuries to a couple of their players and a loan deal.
Al Duhail lost the services of forward Ismail Mohammed at least for six to seven months, while midfielder Karim Boudiaf is still recuperating from a knee injury.
Ismail suffered a double fracture on his right leg during their win over Al Shahania in Week 1, whereas Boudiaf got injured during their loss to Al Rayyan in the Sheikh Jassim Cup on 1st August.
Al Duhail will also be without the services of Ahmed Yasser, who has been loaned out to top Japanese club Vissel Kobe. The defender represented Al Rayyan on loan in the second half of last season after he completed another loan spell at Spanish club Cultural Leonesa.
The clash between Al Rayyan and Umm Salal will also evoke keen interest.
Al Rayyan are in fine form, having lifted the Sheikh Jassim Cup and won their QNB Stars League opener against Al Ahli. The Lions have so far made up for the absence of Moroccan striker Abderrazaq Hamdallah, who is recovering from an ankle injury he suffered towards the end of last season.
Umm Salal, on the other hand, will badly look for a win after suffering a dying-moment heartbreak against Al Sailiya in the opening week, when they conceded the winning goal.
The Al Gharafa vs Al Sailiya clash is also expected to be a thriller, with the former looking to put behind the disappointment of defeat to Qatar SC and the latter keen to sustain the momentum.
Al Gharafa have players such as Wesley Sneijder, back-in-form Vladimir Weiss and Mehdi Taremi to deliver the goods even as Al Sailiya coach Sami Trabelsi must be delighted with the instant success of striker Abdulqadir Ilyas who scored their both goals against Umm Salal.
Al Ahli and Qatar SC will both be keen on winning when they face off. Al Ahli did not have much to take home from their loss to Al Rayyan whereas Qatar SC have many positives from their impressive win over Al Gharafa.
Al Shahania and Al Kharaitiyat will both look to open their account when they clash against each other.