QNB Stars League — Week 15 Highlights
The battle for the title hotted up further after the QNB Stars League’s Week 15 fixtures, held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Top three teams Al Duhail, Al Sadd and Al Rayyan all won to remain as strong contenders to lift the league shield, while Al Sailiya and Umm Salal, the fourth and fifth-placed sides, both dropped points.
It was the first round of action after the close of January transfer window, where many clubs reinforced their squads ahead of the second and tough phase of the season.
There was only one change in the standings as Qatar SC slipped from ninth to 10th and Al Arabi moved up by one position.
Al Duhail faced no problems in registering their 12th win as they defeated Al Ahli 4-0, with Youssef Msakny scoring three goals and assisting for the other netted by Youssef El Arabi, as The Red Knights moved to 39 points.
El Arabi took his tally to 20 goals on top of the scoring chart and is well poised to bag the coveted award for the second successive season.
Al Ahli, who did well in holding Umm Salal and Al Khor in the previous rounds, could not find their footing against a marauding Al Duhail.
Al Sadd overcame an early scare when they were in deficit in the very third minute through Omar Al Emadi and got the better of Qatar SC 3-1. It was their 12th victory as well. Xavi Hernandez, Hassan Ahmed and Hamed Ismail scored for The Wolves.
Al Sadd have 37 points, two more than Al Rayyan who beat Al Markhiya 3-1, with Sebastian Soria, Abderrazaq Hamdallah and Rodrigo Tabata finding the mark.
Al Markhiya’s goal came through Mohamed Salah. The Oryxes stayed rooted to the bottom on eight points.
Al Sailiya again dropped points, this time being held 2-2 by Al Kharaitiyat who punched way above their weight under new coach Yasser Sebaie, who replaced Tunisian Ahmad Al Ajlani following their Week 14 defeat at the hands of Al Khor.
Moroccan striker Rachid Tiberkanine scored Al Kharaitiyat’s both goals, while that of Al Sailiya came from Wagner Ribeiro and Majdi Siddiq. The Peregrines would be ruing the two points they lost as they bid to finish the competition among the top four, while The Thunders received a morale booster when their confidence was at a low ebb, being in the 11th position and took their points to 10.
Al Arabi did well in drawing goalless with fifth-placed Umm Salal, taking their points to 12 and 21 respectively. The hard-earned point helped The Dream Team move to ninth from 10th in the table.
Al Gharafa prevailed over Al Khor 2-1 to close the gap with Umm Salal from three points to one. Wesley Sneijder and Muad Hassan found the target for The Cheetahs, who are on 20 points. Al Khor stayed on 14.
The week witnessed 19 goals being scored compared to 21 in the previous round.