QNB Stars League 2018-19: Al Ahli miss out on top-four finish
After the end of 2018-19 season, all QNB Stars League clubs are looking at ways to avoid the drawbacks and rectify the mistakes ahead of the new season.
As part of coverage of the league championship that went by, the Qatar Stars League website analyses all 12 teams’ performance in the 2018-19 QNB Stars League, in the order of their final standings.
Al Ahli put up a strong performance in the 2018-19 QNB Stars League by finishing fifth with 34 points. They registered 10 victories, four draws and eight defeats to have a goal difference of -7 (32 goals for and 39 against).
At some stages, they even looked like ending up in the top-four bracket. However, they finished three points adrift of fourth-placed Al Rayyan.
The Brigadiers had stormed into the top four following their 2-1 win over Al Kharaitiyat in Week 16.
Despite a sedate start to their campaign, Al Ahli managed to earn a respectable finish, thanks to a series of positive results, that included victories on the trot, in the second leg of QNB Stars League.
Al Ahli started off with a 0-2 loss to Al Rayyan. However, they defeated Qatar SC 2-0 in Week 2. But they suffered successive big-margin defeats against Umm Salal (1-4) and Al Gharafa (0-4).
Czech coach Milan Macala still managed to get the side back on track as they scored wins over Al Kharaitiyat, Al Shahania, Al Arabi and Al Sadd too in the first leg. Incidentally, that was Al Sadd’s only loss throughout the campaign en route to lifting the league shield for a record-extending 14th time.
The Al Ahli squad included four foreign professional players — Moroccan Mohsine Moutaouly, Dutchman Nigel de Jong as well as Iranian duo of Omid Ebrahimi and Mohamed Reza.
In mid-December, Al Ahli announced the signing of Spanish coach Ruben de la Barrera to replace Macala. The winter transfer window then saw them recruit Venezuelan defender Jhon Chancellor and Costa Rican forward Jonathan McDonald, while Qatari striker Mohammed Muntari returned to Al Duhail.
Al Ahli can surely take heart from their display last season as they embark on the 2019-20 season with renewed hopes.