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Nov 26 - Dec 8, 2019
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Duhail Sports Club look to consolidate

The former champions will be eager to gain some momentum as the Qatar Stars League enters the fifth round this week.
Duhail Sc
Two wins and two draws are not satisfactory results for Duhail in the Qatar Stars League. They will be looking to gain momentum by defeating Shahania on Saturday. IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

Duhail Sports Club will be desperately keen to find some momentum as they take on Al Shahania in the fifth round of the Qatar Stars League on Saturday.

The Red Knights, last year’s runners-up, have not really fired this season with injuries, illness and lack of form hampering their play.

With champions Al Sadd’s match against Al Arabi postponed due to their AFC Champions League semifinal against Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal on October 1, Duhail get an opportunity to close the gap with the leaders.

Umm Salal open the fifth-round programme with a clash against Al Wakrah on Thursday. The matches on Friday were rescheduled following a request from the organisers of the IAAF World Championships and as such there will be four matches on Saturday.

Duhail, playing first at the Al Arabi Stadium, will keep an eye out on other matches as well, with third-placed Al Gharafa taking on Al Sailiya at their home stadium.

Al Gharafa
Al Gharafa can occupy the top spot in the Qatar Stars League if they defeat Al Sailiya in the fifth round on Saturday. IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

After four rounds, Sadd lead the table with 12 points, followed by Al Arabi (10) and Al Gharafa (10). Duhail are fourth on eight points.

Two wins and two draws are not satisfactory results for Duhail. But considering that their strike force was depleted – Yousuf Msakni injured and Edmilson unwell – their plight is understandable. A 4-2 win over promoted side Wakrah in the fourth round was a good reward for the determination shown by Duhail’s players.

“Given that we had absences due to injuries and illnesses, the players showed commendable spirit,” Duhail coach Rui Faria had said. He was happy that someone like Muhamed Muntari rose to the occasion with two goals against Wakrah.

Duhail would want their players to show the same spirit against Shahania, who are struggling in this edition of the league. Just one of two teams without a win, Shahania are under tremendous pressure to deliver their first points. That desperation might trigger an exciting contest.

Also on Saturday, Al Gharafa can occupy the top spot if they defeat Al Sailiya who lost to Sadd in their deferred third-round match. Sailiya played well against Sadd and had they grabbed their chances, the result could have been a different one. Gharafa, as such, won’t have it easy.

Wakrah, beaten by Duhail, felt some of the refereeing decisions had gone against them in that match. They are seventh with six points while their opponents on Thursday, Umm Salal are further down on 10th spot with just one point.

Also in the spotlight will be Qatar Sports Club’s match against Al Khor, the last match on Saturday, at the Al Arabi Stadium. Qatar sacked their coach Carlos Alos and replaced him with Wesam Rizik after four straight defeats. Rizik said he was hoping to take the team to a higher level.

“There won’t be any changes in the team now. We’ve good players and the idea will be to work as a family to push the team to achieve victories. We’ll make appropriate changes later,” said Rizik, a former Qatar national team captain.

Al Rayyan also will be in action on Saturday, taking on Al Ahli.