QNB Stars League Week 18 – Al Duhail 1 Umm Salal 1


Al Duhail and Umm Salal played out a 1-1 draw in Week 18 of the 2019-20 season QNB Stars League at the Al Janoub Stadium on Saturday.

Al Duhail thus dropped two crucial points in their bid to win the league, which resumed after a long break forced by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

After a barren first half, Al Duhail opened the scoring through Almoez Ali in the 49th minute (penalty), a lead that was neutralised by Umm Salal through Ayyoub Azzi in the 52nd minute.

Al Duhail now have 43 points (13 wins, four draws and one defeat), while Umm Salal earned a lifeline in their bid to stay in the First Division. They have 15 points from three victories, six draws and nine defeats.

Al Duhail had beaten Umm Salal 1-0 in the first leg of 2019-20 QNB Stars League, so it was an improved performance by the latter who have improved under Moroccan Aziz Ben Askar, himself their former defender.

Al Duhail, coached by Ben Askar’s countryman Walid Regragui, dominated possession (60 per cent), but Umm Salal put up a spirited fight right throughout.

The closest Al Duhail came to scoring in the first half was in the 21st minute when Han Kwang-Song’s rising shot hit against the left upright after Umm Salal goalkeeper Baba Malick failed to get his hand on to the swerving ball.

Han then sent his shot over and Yousef Msakni had his shot deflected wide by the rival defence. At the other end, Umm Salal’s Walid Mesloub failed to find the target with his free-kick from the left.

Almoez took Al Duhail ahead not long after the resumption of play by converting a penalty, which was awarded when Abdulrahman Mohammed’s shot was handled by Umm Salal’s Omar Yahya.

Umm Salal soon drew parity as Ayoub Azzi headed in Mesloub’s corner from the left, beating the challenge of Sultan Al Breik.

Al Duhail’s Almoez headed over and Umm Salal’s Mahmoud Al Mawas’ placing shot was saved by goalkeeper Mohammed Al Bakri as both sides settled for a draw.