QNB Stars League- Round 2 Preview
Round two of the QNB Stars League season kicks off on Thursday evening when Al Gharafa take on Umm Salal in the 20:00 K.O. Jean Fernandez’s side showed plenty of promise in their battling opening day draw against Al Ahli, and will be targeting the same, solid performance against Umm Salal. Second half substitue Luis Jiménez improved the fortunes of the Cheetahs last time out, and will now be expected to start for his new side.
As for Umm Salal, they proved to be too strong for Al Kharaitiyat, temporarily topping the early QNB Stars League standings with a 3-1 victory. Mahmoud Jaber’s side looked impressive moving forward, however it was in defence were they stood out, summer signing Adil Rhaili putting in a impressive display in his debut for the Orange Fortress. The Moroccan defender will have to be at his best against Gharafa, in what could be a early test of Umm Salal’s top four credentials.
Friday will see three games take place, starting with Al Kharaitiyat welcoming Al Rayyan to Al Khor stadium. The Thunders stuttered in their opening day game against Umm Salal, and will looking for at least a point against Al Rayyan. Worryingly for Kharaitiyat, they failed to put away the chances they created in the tie and will be hoping that Rachid Tiberkanine can find his form in front of goal.
Whilst for the visitors Al Rayyan, they enjoyed an impressive opening day victory against Al Khor, running out 4-2 winners. Encouragingly for head coach Michael Laudrup summer signings Abdulrazak Hamdullah and Mouhcine Moutouali also found the back of the net in the win, and will be targeting back to back wins to start their season.
Fresh from their opening day 3-1 win Al Sailiya take on Al Sadd at Al Ahli stadium. Sami Trabelsi’s side will be eager to inflict further misery on Al Sadd who fell to a shock opening round defeat to Al Markhiya. After coming off from the bench, Uzbek striker Temurkhuja Abdukholiqov will be targeting a starting place against the Wolves.
Al Sadd on the other hand will be targeting their first points of the season, following their shock 2-1 defeat to Markhiya. Head coach Jesualdo Ferriera blamed the humidity and squad fatigue for the defeat. The Wolves should welcome back top scorer Bagdad Bounjah for the match.
The final match of Friday will see the two promoted sides face each other when Qatar SC take on Al Markiya. The Kings played well despite losing 3-2 to Al Duhail, and coach Gabriel Calderon will be realistically targeting three points for his team. Markhiya will be on a high, following their win over Al Sadd. Yusef Adam’s side will be hoping to continue their impressive start with a statement win over their fellow promoted team.
Saturday’s QNB Stars action concludes round two, and the first match of the day will see Al Duhail looking to continue winning ways against Al Arabi in the match of the week. Djamel Belmadi’s side left it late to defeat Qatar SC last time out and will be aiming for a better performance against the Dream Team. As for Al Arabi, they looked out of sorts in their 3-1 defeat,despite a spectaclar strike from summer signing Khalfan Ibrahim.
The round concludes with Al Khor taking on Al Ahli. The Knights didn’t enjoy the best opening day, after being comprehensively being beaten 4-2 by Al Rayyan. New coach Laurent Baldine will be hoping that summer signing David da Silva can find the back of the net, after looking lively at times during the opening game of the seaosn. Whilst for Ahli, new boss Joaquín Caparrós will be looking for his first three points of the campaign.