QNB Stars League Week 18 Highlights
The QNB Stars League Week 18 saw tougher contests, surprise results and high-scoring games, among others. A total of 27 goals were scored, the highest in a round thus far in the 2018-19 season.
The first seven positions remained unchanged. The only change was that Al Gharafa and Al Shahania swapped the eighth and ninth positions, with the latter moving up.
The battle at the top continued to be fierce as Al Sadd (47 points) maintained their four-point lead over reigning champions Al Duhail (43) following their big-margin victories.
Al Sadd downed Qatar SC 8-1 for their 15th victory, while Al Duhail blanked Al Ahli 6-0 to record their 13th win.
Qatar international Akram Afif and his Algerian strike partner Baghdad Bounedjah both struck hat-tricks for Al Sadd, for whom Asia’s best player Abdulkarim Hassan and Qatar national team captain Hassan Al Haydous too found the target.
Bounedjah continued to be the top scorer with 34 goals, while Akram displaced Al Duhail’s Moroccan spearhead Yousef El Arabi (21) from the second position with 22 goals. In the process, Bounedjah completed 100 goals for Al Sadd in all competitions.
Bahaa Abdulrahman pulled one back for Qatar SC.
Winter signings Mehdi Benatia as well as Shoya Nakajima, Mohammed Muntari, Murad Naji and Yousef El Arabi (double) scored for Al Duhail, who thus got back to winning ways after being held goalless by Al Gharafa in Week 17.
Al Sailiya kept the third position despite going down 2-3 to Al Arabi. New recruits Wilfried Bony (double) and Victor Vazquez were on target for Al Arabi. Al Sailiya’s goals came from a Morteza Pouraliganji own goal and Abdulkadir Ilyas.
Al Sailiya stayed on 31 points, whereas Al Arabi moved to 27 and retained the sixth position in the standings.
The week’s action produced many surprises. Al Kharaitiyat defeated Al Gharafa 3-0 to complete back-to-back victories (they had beaten Umm Salal in the previous round), Al Shahania beat Al Rayyan by an identical 3-0 margin and Al Khor beat Umm Salal 1-0 to register their second victory in a row, having beaten Qatar SC in Week 17.
Mohammed Razzaq, Valentin Lazar and Abdulaziz Rashid Al Ansari scored for Al Kharaitiyat, who thus completed their domination of Al Gharafa having defeated them in the first leg as well.
Al Khor saw themselves through with a goal from Wagner Ferreira.
If anything, the victories gave crucial three points to Al Kharaitiyat and Al Khor who both are in danger zone, along with Qatar SC.
Qatar SC have 16 points, Al Khor 15 and Al Kharaitiyat nine.