QNB Stars League Week 17 — Al Gharafa vs Al Duhail
Al Gharafa take on Al Duhail in a heavyweight clash in Week 17 of the QNB Stars League on Saturday, 23rd February. The kick-off is at 16:50 at the Al Gharafa Stadium.
Al Gharafa will look to put behind the disappointment of losing 1-2 to Umm Salal in the last round, while Al Duhail cannot afford any slip-up if they are to remain in title contention. The Red Knights are presently breathing down the neck of Al Sadd with 39 points, two less than leaders Al Sadd.
Reigning champions Al Duhail have 12 victories, three draws and one defeat to have a goal difference of +25 (38 goals for and 13 against).
Al Gharafa, coached by Frenchman Christian Gourcuff, are eighth in the QNB Stars League standings with 18 points (five victories, three draws and eight defeats). Their goal difference is -2 (28 goals for and 30 against).
Al Gharafa will be keen on finishing at least in the fourth position and thus play in the Qatar Cup. They will also be eager to avoid the situation last season when they just managed to end up fourth in the last round, edging Umm Salal to the fifth spot.
Meanwhile, Al Gharafa failed to qualify for this year’s AFC Champions League after going down fighting to Iran’s Zobahan 2-3 in play-off in Doha on Tuesday. The Cheetahs had the ignominy of suffering defeat despite leading by two goals.
Qatar’s Al Rayyan advanced to the group stage after winning their play-off against Iran’s Saipa 3-1, also on Tuesday.
Al Duhail and Al Sadd directly qualified for the group stage of 2019 AFC Champions League by virtue of having finished as winners and runners-up of 2017-18 season QNB Stars League.
Al Duhail have been drawn into Group C alongside Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia, Al Ain of the UAE and Esteghlal of Iran.