Monday, 1st August, 2022
19:45 kick-off at Al Sadd Stadium
Umm Salal face Al Ahli in Week 1 of the 2022-2023 season QNB Stars League. The kick-off is at 19:45 at the Al Sadd Stadium on Monday, 1st August, 2022.
Both teams embark on the new season with hopes and ambitions to prove themselves. An opening win will provide a great motivation for more victories.
Both sides have new strength with the addition of new players and long preparations leading up to the new QNB Stars League season.
Umm Salal, during their training camp in the Turkish city of Izmit, played three friendly matches as part of their preparations. In the first of their matches, The Orange Fortress beat Darica Genclerbirligi club 3-2.
In their second friendly, Umm Salal beat Turkish side Adana Demirspor 2-0 while in the third match, they lost 1-0 to Iranian team Foolad Khuzestan. And, in a friendly match in Doha against Al Markhiya, both teams were tied with one goal each.
Umm Salal, who finished sixth last season, will be keen to cross the first hurdle against Al Ahli, who ended up seventh in the table.
Umm Salal are aiming to make it to the top four this season having chosen to continue with Qatari coach Wesam Rizik. The team has a comprehensive change to its list having contracted five foreign professional stars in Ivorian Jonathan Kodjia, Uzbek Sardor Rashidov, Moroccan Abdellah Khafifi, Dutchman Driss Saddiki and Portuguese Joao Carlos Teixeira.
Both Umm Salal and Al Ahli had finished with 25 points each in the QNB Stars League 2021-22 season standings and are well aware of either side’s strengths and weaknesses. As such, the opening match of the season between these two sides would be a battle between equals.
Al Ahli are continuing with their coach Nebojsa Jovovic and had a successful conditioning camp in Austria, where they also played a friendly against Hungarian club Gyirmot which ended 1-2.
Jovovic has strong belief in his players, namely Iranian Shojae Khalilzadeh, Algerian Sofiane Hanni and Montenegrin Nikola Vukcevic, along with goalkeeper Yazan Naim and Iranian defender Hossein Kanaani. These are supported by Qatari players Nasser Khalfan and Abdulaziz Hazza.
Both Umm Salal and Al Ahli have prepared strongly in pursuit of a distinguished appearance. While Umm Salal rely on new professional players, especially since Wesam has good knowledge of the details of the competition, the same is also true for Jovovic, who is well aware of the capabilities of his wards.