Umm Salal benefit from steady display
Umm Salal have been steady in the QNB Stars League, be it under Egyptian coach Mahmoud Jaber or his successor Moroccan Talal El Karkouri.
The Orange Fortress achieved four wins and as many draws in the first phase. They have recorded the same number of victories and draws so far in the second phase too.
While they suffered three defeats in the first phase, they had five in the second.
In all, they have 32 points, the same as Al Gharafa, but were placed fifth on goal difference. Al Gharafa had a goal difference of +6 compared to Umm Salal’s -1.
Likewise, Umm Salal had exactly the half number of points (16) at the end of first phase of QNB Stars League.
They played 15 matches under Mahmoud, winning five, drawing six and losing four. El Karkouri guided the team in six games so far, winning two, drawing three and losing only once.
The team had made a strong start to the season and achieved positive results until they were displaced by Al Sailiya who had the last laugh when they faced off against each other in Week 7.
Umm Salal had strengthened the squad in the winter with Tunisian attacking midfielder Oussama Darragi and Mohammed Barois, and their performance graph was on the rise after making the positive changes.
Now, they are fighting with Al Gharafa for the fourth position. They still have a chance provided they win or draw and Al Gharafa drop points.
Umm Salal face already-relegated side Al Markhiya in Week 22, while Al Gharafa play Qatar SC.
Umm Salal had a bad experience as far as recruitment of some players was concerned. They had to change Moroccan Yousef Sekour, whom they roped in at the beginning of the season.
Players such as another Moroccan Adel Rhaili, Ivorian Yannick Sagbo, their top scorer, Syrian Mahmoud Mawas, Ismail Ibrahim, Ismail Mahmoud and Mohamed Sayed served the side well.