QNB Stars League 2018-19: Al Sadd reap rewards for consistency
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 Sadd counted on technical stability at the beginning of the season in their bid to regain the league shield, which they last lifted in 2012-13. Indeed, The Wolves cruised to their record-extending 14th Qatar league title, riding on consistent performances. They produced some exceptional results and fully deserved the triumph.
The team’s technical staff continued under Portuguese coach Jesualdo Ferreira. They roped in Spanish defensive midfielder Gabriel Fernandez (Gabi) and South Korean midfielder Jung Woo-Young in the summer, while Spanish star Xavi Hernandez and ace Algerian striker Baghdad Bounedjah stayed.
They retained most of the players and were all set before the start of season, and did not have to make any changes to the squad in the January transfer window.
Al Sadd earned plenty of impressive results as they set many records. They registered the biggest margin of victory when they beat Al Arabi 10-1 in Week 2.
Al Sadd also had the most number of wins (18) and scored the most number of goals (100). They had the least number of defeats (just the loss to Al Ahli in the first leg) and conceded the least number of goals (22), after runners-up Al Duhail (17).
In the process, they became the first team in the history of Qatar league to complete a century of goals scored from 22 matches, with an average of 4.5 goals per game. The offensive power of tournament top scorer Bounedjah (39 goals) and Qatar international Akram Afif (26 goals) contributed mostly to it.
According to STATS, the official statistics and figures provider for the QNB Stars League, Akram provided the largest number of assists (15), followed by Bounedjah (13) and Al Sadd’s Hassan Al Haydous (12).
Among others who excelled, Xavi continued his good form and sprayed crucial passes time and again. The season also saw the former star of Spanish national team and FC Barcelona end his career as a player after donning the Al Sadd jersey for four years.
Qatar national team goalkeeper Sadd Al Dossari, Abdelkarim Hassan, who was adjudged Asia’s best player of 2018, Pedro Miguel, Boualem Khoukhi, Tareq Salman, Salem Al Hajri and Hamed Ismail too shone among the Al Sadd ranks.
Bounedjah topped the chart with a record 39 goals from 22 matches with an average of 1.7 goals per game, as he played a vital role in Al Sadd’s triumph in the QNB Stars League.
The wily player became the Qatar league’s all-time top scorer in a single season. He surpassed Brazilian striker Clemerson Soares’ record of 27 goals set in the 2007-08 season for Al Gharafa.
Naturally, Al Sadd stole the show at the Qatar Football Association Awards Ceremony by bagging three awards. Akram, Bounedjah and Ferreira bagged the awards for the best player, top scorer (Mansour Muftah Award) and best coach respectively.
All that underlined an exceptional season for Al Sadd.