Al Duhail look to maintain top spot as QSL braces for a break

 05 Dec 2017 - 11:48

The Peninsula

The Week 11 action of the QNB Stars League (QSL) will be held with three matches each to be played on Thursday and Friday ahead of the winter break which will continue till next month.

All the 12 teams are looking to give their  best in the last round of the first phase, promising interesting and electrifying battles at the weekend.

Table toppers Al Duhail, who are yet to lose a match, will look for nothing less than a victory when they are hosted by Al Sailiya, who must be eager to snap a two-match losing streak.

The Peregrines had lost to Al Khor and Al Ahli in Week 9 and 10 respectively.

Al Duhail will also be keen to keep their unbeaten record in tact after the first phase.   

That will give them a shot in the arm in their pursuit of retaining the prestigious league shield, lifted by Lekhwiya last season.

Last week, The Red Knights widened the gap with Al Rayyan to three points after the latter played out a 1-1 draw with Umm Salal.

The Lions will be keen to put behind that disappointment when they face Al Ahli.

However, they will miss the services of star Moroccan striker Abderrazaq Hamdallah, who is out injured. Al Ahli, coached by Spaniard Joaquin Caparros, will take the field with a winning mentality, having beaten Al Sailiya in the last round.

Al Sadd too cannot afford to drop points if they are to be in title contention. The Wolves, on 24 points and four behind Al Duhail, play Al Kharaitiyat at the Al Khor Stadium, the latter’s home ground.

Al Sadd will continue to miss Algerian spearhead Baghdad Bounedjah, who is nursing an injury.

However, Xavi & Co are capable of delivering against any team, as was evident from their hard-fought victory over Al Khor at the renovated Khalifa International Stadium last week.

Xavi, the FIFA World Cup winner and two-time European Championship winner with Spain, more than made up for the absence of Baghdad with a double. Jugurtha Hamroun also came good against Al Khor and that makes the race at the top of the table hotter.

The competition in the bottom half is also tough. Tenth-placed Qatar SC run into Al Gharafa, who had also won in Week 10, while basement side Al Arabi take on eighth-placed Al Khor.

Debutants Al Markhiya, 11th on six points, also badly need some points to stay off the relegation zone as they meet Umm Salal.