QNB Stars League Week 18 Review
The 2019-20 season QNB Stars League returned to life after a four-month break forced by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The tournament, which was stopped on 7th March, resumed in accordance with the precautionary measures as per the general plan and protocol developed by the Qatar Stars League (QSL) in co-operation with Ministry of Public Health.
Week 18 matches were played on 24th, 25th and 26th July, with two games on each day. A total of 13 goals were scored, while two fixtures ended in draws.
In appreciation and gratitude for the great efforts of healthcare workers and all those working on the frontlines combating the menace and as a thank-you message from the QSL and clubs, a special logo was placed on all players’ jerseys.
Before the week’s opening match between Al Gharafa and Al Arabi, a doctor performed the honorary kick-off, while Al Sadd players, ahead of their game against Al Khor, came out in health sector uniform in a show of tribute to the medical staff.
Despite the long break and unusual preparatory stages, the teams put up spirited fights. All positions in the standings remained the same but for Al Khor and Umm Salal swapping 10th and 11th spots after the latter held leaders Al Duhail to a 1-1 draw.
Thus, the title race hotted up as a result of Al Duhail dropping points.
Al Duhail are on 43 points, but Al Rayyan closed the gap with them as The Lions moved to 41 following their come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Qatar SC, who stayed in ninth position with 17 points.
Al Sadd stayed third and still in contention for the title with a 2-1 win over Al Khor, a repeat of the result of their first-leg match. The reigning champions now have 35 points.
The defeat made Al Khor (14 points) slip to 11th, whereas Umm Salal, having 15 points, helped themselves in the battle to avoid relegation.
Al Gharafa remained fourth in the table and moved on to 31 points with a 1-0 verdict against Al Arabi, who stood on 24 points.
Al Shahania, staring at relegation as the basement side, did well in beating Al Ahli to earn three crucial points.
Al Shahania, under Nabil Anwar who was assistant to recently-departed Spanish coach Jose Murcia, are on 13 points, one point behind 11th-placed Al Khor, while Al Ahli stayed eighth with 19 points.
Al Wakrah and Al Sailiya played out a goalless draw to remain seventh and sixth respectively with 20 and 24 points.