QNB Stars League — Week 17 Highlights
All of a sudden, it has become a two-way race between leaders Al Duhail and Al Sadd for the QNB Stars League title even as not a single position in the standings changed after the Week 17 action. A total of 20 goals were scored, compared to 22 in Week 16.
Both Al Duhail and Al Sadd stayed on course with big-margin victories, while Al Rayyan found themselves out of contention after dropping points.
Al Duhail moved to 45 points with a 5-0 win over Umm Salal. The Red Knights showed no let-up and were up 4-0 after 15 minutes, with goals coming from Luis Martin, captain Youssef Msakny (two) and Nam Tae-Hee (two).
The Orange Fortress were without suspended Tunisian midfielder Oussama Darragi. They could not do much against a marauding Al Duhail side that has scored a total of 64 goals so far this season.
Umm Salal stayed fifth with 24 points.
Msakny moved to 18 goals and Nam 10 in the 2017-18 QNB Stars League top scorers’ chart. Msakny is second in the list, after team-mate Youssef El Arabi (21 goals).
Al Duhail coach Djamel Belmadi gave rest to key players, ace striker Youssef El Arabi and midfielder Karim Boudiaf in view of their AFC Champions League outing at the UAE’s Al Wahda on Tuesday.
Al Sadd underlined their complete dominance over Al Arabi in the Qatar Derby, the marquee clash of Week 17, with a 5-1 victory. The Wolves had won the first-phase match as well.
Hassan Al Haydous led Al Sadd’s charge with a three-goal effort as they kept pace with Al Duhail with 43 points.
Left-back Abdelkarim Hassan and ace Algerian striker Baghdad Bounedjah were the other scorers, while Diego Jardel netted Al Arabi’s only goal as they stayed 11th with 12 points.
Al Rayyan’s title hopes were effectively over after they played out a 2-2 draw with Al Sailiya. The Lions had lost to Al Sadd in the Qatar Clasico in the previous round.
Sebastia Soria and Abderrazzaq Hamdallah scored Al Rayyan’s goals, while Al Sailiya replied through Dragos Grigore and Mohamed Al Marri.
Al Rayyan would have been better off had Rodrigo Tabata converted a penalty that they earned at the fag end. They have 36 points and trail Al Duhail by nine, while Al Sailiya stayed fourth on 25 points.
Al Gharafa got back to winning ways with a 2-0 win over Al Kharaitiyat to stay sixth with 23 points. Othman Al Yahri and substitute striker Mehdi Taremi scored The Cheetahs’ goals. Al Kharaitiyat stayed 10th on 13 points.
Qatar SC registered their second successive victory when they got the better of Al Ahli 1-0, with in-form Syrian striker Osama Omari, who joined The Kings in the January transfer window, netting the all-important goal.
Qatar SC are eighth 18 points and Al Ahli one place above on 19.
Bottom-half teams Al Markhiya and Al Khor were locked in a 1-1 draw. Mohammed Salah El Neel found Al Markhiya’s goal, while Al Khor replied through Salem Hilal.
Al Khor (15 points) are ninth and Al Markhiya last (nine points).