QSL: Belmadi impressed by Al Markhiya’s gritty display

 04 Dec 2017 - 10:16

QSL: Belmadi impressed by Al Markhiya’s gritty display
Players vie for the ball possession during the QNB Stars League match between Al Duhail and Al Markhiya which was played at Abdulla bin Khalifa Stadium on Saturday. Al Duhail won the match 2-1 but Al Duhail coach Belmadi praised the losing side for their fighting spirit.

By Rizwan Rehmat / The Peninsula

Shrewd tactician Djamel Belmadi is impressed the way newcomers Al Markhiya have fought resolute battles in the QNB Stars League this season.

On Saturday, Al Duhail edged Al Markhiya 2-1 but coach Yousef Adam’s team did not concede a goal in the second half, leaving Belmadi praising the losing team at Abdulla bin Khalifa Stadium.

Al Duhail still lead the points table with 28 points after 10 matches followed by Al Rayyan (25) and Al Sadd (24) in third place. Al Markhiya are in 11th spot, a notch above bottom-placed Al Arabi who have struggled for form this season.

“As I said before this match that it was not easy against Al Marakhiya. They have presented a good level of football during their last few matches. They have lost with very few mistakes,” Al Duhail coach Belmadi said after the game where the two coaches hugged each other after the final whistle.  

“It is a good team and they have quality players. It was hard to face them because of their strong defensive tactics that they play with,” the 41-year-old Algerian said.

Coach Belmadi praised Al Duhail for their fighting spirit, saying: “Thank God on this victory. I am happy with the result achieved against Al Markhiya.”

The former Qatar national team coach said he did not see any reasons to make changes against Al Markhiya.

“There are some matches in which you do not see the need to make changes and making changes is not obligatory on a coach,” Belmadi said in the post-match conference.

“You make changes looking at a game. Al Markhiya played with good defense and we missed some opportunities. But remember Al Duhail cannot score many goals in every match. Like I said, I am happy with this result,” Belmadi said.

When reminded about being chased by arch-rivals Al Rayyan and Al Sadd, Belmadi said: “This result of ours increases the difference but us and them but the difference is small. We cannot think that we are ahead in the title hunt. The difference between us and Al Rayyan is three points and between us and Al Sadd is only four points. (But) we wish this difference remains until the end of the season.”

Meanwhile, Al Rayyan coach Michael Laurdup sounded relieved to see his draw 1-1 against Umm Salal after taking the lead through feared striker Rodrigo Tabata on Thursday.

“The negative point from this game for us is the loss of Abdul Razzaq Hamdallah’s efforts. We played a strong game and we had many chances to score. To tell you honestly we were hoping to win,” Laudrup said.

“I’m not upset about the loss of the two points because I can only see the good performance of the team. We have another 10 rounds of the league to go. The season is still long. The loss of two points in the top race does not bother me,” the popular Dane added.

“We had 6 to 7 clear opportunities to score but luck was not on our side,” Laudrup added.

Meanwhile, Al Sadd coach Jesualdo Ferreira was pleased with his team’s 2-1 win over Al Khor in round 10 on Friday.

“The team put up a good performance and got a deserved win. Al Sadd were the better side for most of the match. After scoring the second goal, the players thought the match was over and this is what helped the opponent to equalize. A 2-0 scoreline is always tough,” Ferreira said

“I will try to get back some injured players but time won’t pass quickly for us. I ask my players to be calm and think about the next match,” Ferreira said in a report posted on the club website.

The Portuguese tactician also pointed out that goalkeeper Meshaal Barsham, who was making his debut for Al Sadd, did well.

“This is not an easy thing. He is not responsible for the two goals that we conceded. Overall, he displayed a great performance,” Ferriera said.

When asked to comment on his team’s lack of focus after taking a 2-0 lead, Ferreira said: “There was a period of complacency after we scored the second goal, which led to us falling apart.”

He added: “My goal now is to return to the level where we were during the last season. The absence of players has affected our performance a lot in the last few games. When we got back Pedro, we lost Bounedjah. I am not able to play Khoukhi in his position because of these absences. I am confident that the team will be able to return to its true level when we play with a full team.”