The Qatar Stars League has sprung some surprises and this season is no exception. With 2 games to go, Ahdaaf looks at how each team as well as how they performed in a crucial moment like this and where things can go from here.
With teams hanging in the balance and the batftle of the title between Lekhwiya and Al-Sadd, there is stil plenty to talk about in this esoteric league. But all can’t be easily explained as Al-Sadd’s league title in jeapordy having lost 2 and drawn 2 in the last 4 QSL games but are atop of their ACL group whereas Lekhwiya have been on an undefeated streak in the QSL but their ACL hopes are thinning each match-day.
If there’s one thing no one could have predicted, it was Qatar SC to overcome El-Jaish as well as Al-Arabi start the season off so horribly. But, at least in the QSL, there’s always something you can predict and this season is no different: the 2-horse race between Lekhwiya and Al-Sadd for the title.
With the services of Weiss, Nam Tae-Hee, Msekni and Chico Flores, Lekhwiya was stacked in the foreign department. Not to mention Sebastian Soria, Lecomte-Adine, Ismael Mohammad and Luiz Ceara; Lekhwiya was not short of talent so it’s no wonder they will most likely be winning the league.
Having coming off a hard-fought 2-1 QSL win from Umm Salal, Sebastián Soria and Weiss both found the net against a impressive Baba Malick (currently on of the best QSL goalkeepers). Despite this, Lekhwiya will rue their chances on the goals that could have been and that’s exactly what happened when they beat Bunyodkor from a lone penalty a few days later.
Right now, Lekhwiya cannot afford to lose. Their next two games are against Al-Arabi and Al Shahaniya. Al Shahaniya won’t be a problem but Al-Arabi could be a threat if Khoukhi, Hatem and the rest up their game and decide to carry the team on their back. If they lose, their title chances will falter if Al-Sadd win and keep winning. As for now, Al-Sadd seem to be in a clear as Al-Sadd is clearly on a decline. But with the QSL, who knows.
Al-Sadd recently came off 6-2 ACL victory from Uzbekistan’s Lokomotive but that’s not where they’re concerned. They recent were defeated 2-1 by a pragmatic Qatar SC and have since drawn with Al-Sailiya and Al-Ahli. If there was problems persisting that they do not have enough talent to move forward; they were shut-out with that 6-2 loss.
But, as said, what matters is their form in the league and it isn’t looking too good as their last QSL win was a month ago and that was barely against Al-Arabi.
The problem that lies is how Al-Sadd close down on a finisher. Muriqui was bought a long time ago but has yet to show his Chinese form from his Guangzhou days. Grafite is promising among the rest while the others such as Abelkarim Hassan, Hassan Al-Hydos, Ali Assadalla have been showing their mettle.
With the result of the 6-2 thrashing, Al-Sadd could inspire a comeback like we’ve never seen before. Their next opponents are Al-Khor and Al-Gharafa, so it shouldn’t pose too much of a threat given the schedule of the Qassem show that is.
Having scored just as many goals as Lekhwiya, Qatar SC did not make them count as the league leaders have. Despite that, what Qatar SC have done was make one of the best decisions by bringing in Hamdi Harbaoui who has netted an astonishing 19 goals in his first season in the league.
Having come off an exciting 2-1 win against Al-Sadd, Qatar SC will be looking to finish on a high-note as they take on Al Kharitiyath and Al-Wakrah, both of who are languishing in despair.
Qatar SC fans will make no mistake. What use to be theirs will soon come to fruition as they slowly work their way to the top. Revered as on of the top clubs in the league, Qatar SC’s form has nothing to write home about but recently, with their streak and shock tie with Al-Khor, it has been smooth sailing and the man to thank for that is Iraqi coach Radhi Shenaishil.
If anyone thought Qatar SC couldn’t do it, they have been proven wrong. Fadel Omer being the relevation of the group, the 25-year-old Qatari mid, has proven time and time again why he should be in the starting line-up. But no matter how the league ends, one thing is for certain: finishing near the top is always welcome for this prestigous goldenrod team.
El-Jaish have had a bumpy road in the QSL. Having recently lose their long-time 3rd place to Qatar SC is something many saw coming but not at the beginning of the season. Despite this, Romarinho has been the saving end of El Jaish’s misery as he has knocked in 13 goals for the police side.
With the way things are looking, El Jaish will need to amp it up a gear or two if they want to catch up to Qatar SC. They recently came off a 3-0 win from Al-Gharafa after a draw and a loss to Al-Khor and Qatar SC respectively.
But the past is the past and El Jaish will need to pinpoint all of their weakness before it’s too late. Having already done so, they have replaced the long-time Ahmed Sufyan with the 2014 WAFF Qatari goalkeeper Saoud Mubarak.
Now, everyone is looking towards the Brazilian quartet of Anderson Martins, Lucas Mendes, Wagner Ribeiro and Romarinho to see how they can make a move on El Jaish and their plans to secure a good spot before it’s all over.
If there was one word to describe Al-Ahli’s current season: Dioko Kaluyituka. Okay, that’s two words but you get the picture. Dioko has scored an amazing 23 goals and just came back from the pitch a hat-trick against Al-Wakrah in 10 minutes, yes from 55th to the 65th minute.
Al-Ahli are looking towards their star striker to score more and hopefully break the QSL records but what’s even more important is staying up as Al-Gharafa plays catch-up.
For the rest of Qatar and Al-Ahli, fans will be look for more results and more games from one of the nation’s most prestigous sides. Sadly for Dioko, the pressure will be all on him to deliver as he has been their goalscorer for 50% of their total goals in the league.
With Bilal Mohammed out and Qassem Burhan declining in abilities, it’s not hard to see why Al-Gharafa are suffering so much. Their current scenario is playing much like Iker Casillas and Diego Lopez in Real Madrid a few seasons ago. Qassem Burhan was hurt and Abdulaziz Ali took his place. Al-Gharafa liked Ali and kept him. However, they decided to give Burhan a chance and well… Burhan happened.
For Al-Gharafa, their most weakned player is Qatar’s national keeper, Qassem Burhan (who isn’t even Qatari himself). From the spills to the unwise decisions, Qassem has baffled everyone on how he’s still allowed to be Qatar’s No1.
But the results show. In the last 10 games for Burhan, he has won 1 game and that was against struggling Al Shahaniya in a 3-2 thriller. Since then, he’s had 3 games ending in 3-0 or more some 1-0s and a 2-3 and 1-2 but no one will ever forget Al-Gharafa 1-6 Al-Wakrah. Especially because a week before that game, Al-Wakrah lost 0-7 to Qatar SC.
Football is funny, isn’t it? As for Al-Gharafa, they will have to work on their goalkeeper problem as well as finding the right Nene replacement. However, for now, Keserü, Cicero and Bresciano have been working that foreign mix as they keep saving Al-Gharafa time in and out. But for how long?
If there’s one thing that Umm Salal can be proud of, it’s their defensive record having only let in 30 goals. A big applause for not only the defense and Baba Malick. One of Qatar’s most-inform goalkeepers at the moment.
With that being said, Umm Salal and the rest were worried they would not fill the shoes that their Brazilian duo Victor Simões and Cabore. Rest assured; they did. Frenchmen Aliadière and Turkey’s Şanlı have been immense for Umm Salal and it has shown as well as Tamer Jamal among the rest.
Umm Salal’s best attribute is their passing by far. But as of late, they’re currently experiencing an unlucky streak. Losing at the last minute, penalties that should’ve been have and almost-victories are some of the things Umm Salal has had to endure.
Despite all of this, if there was one Qatar Stars League manager I would keep, it would be Umm Salal’s Bülent Uygun. He has a class above the rest when it comes to tactics and this hiccup is something to leave in the past for Umm Salal’s sake.
With Abuldaziz Hatem and Boualem Khoukhi, it’s not enough. With Dejagah, Rădoi and Dutra– it’s still not enough. Needless to say, Having lost Spanish midfielder Pablo Hernández and Nigerian yougnster Imoh Ezekiel is something that has hurt Al-Arabi bad and it shows.
A recent 1-0 victory against Al-Shahaniya simplifies their problems. Their talismen player Boualem Khoukhi cannot function without whole chemistry of the team. Having realized that, Al-Arabi has resorted to buying Dutra and Radoi to fix the problem. It hasn’t worked.
At least, for Qatar and Al-Arabi, one standout performer that been shining the field is 22-year-old midfielder Abdullah Marafee. Since his start, he has been making spectacular stops and playing well. For Al-Arabi, they better hope he’s a diamong in the rough, or else they’ll find themselves in the rough… on the ground.
Al Kharitiyath is one of those teams people love to see. Because they will either baffle you with a lose or surprise you with a win. Their current form suggests it’s a little from column A and a little from B.
Having survived a 1-0 “win” with Lekhwiya, the only thing the team has to be happy about is Hassan Abdel Fattah scoring 11 goals. Or 20% of their goals. And N’Diaye, the best QSL goalkeeper of last year from the statistical point of view.
Right now, they need to focus on just winning and being above the rest. They have realized they were as good as they thought and they will be happy finishing in the middle; just like they’ve always been.
Since the loss of Portgual’s Costa, the defense has taken a brutal hit and Al-Sailiya’ goalkeeper Gomis has been made to pay the price. The sad defense has left the Frenchmen in some poor spots which would make Casillas and Buffon cry.
Fortunely, all is not lost. Their best performer, Bahrain’s Faouzi Aaish has been giving them a helping hand. However, their last game suggests that a draw with Al-jharitiyath is not good but 2-2 draw with Al-Sadd proves otherwise.
If there’s one thing Al-Sailiya badly need, it’s a striker. Their last game only consisted of one foreigner, Gomis. The rest were Qataris, a Saudi, a Bahraini and a Sudanese. But before you ask, no, no one is jumping ship. Al-Sailiya showed their worth with their performance last season with relegation-sited to 4th. It was quite the story.
I hope the same thing happens next season. They need it.
Al-Khor are a boring club. Yeah, I said it. Their wins are not spectacular. Their losses make you think twice and their foreign signings are just not up to par. Except Madson. Maybe. The rest? No.
Julio Peu and Marco Antônio need to go. Bölöni needs to realize that he was wrong because Al-Khor’s recent form is a direct personification of ‘horrible team chemistry’. Everytime I tune into a game with Al-Khor, I start to cry a bit. Then, I watch them.
Their passing is subpar. Their goals are from mistakes and there is absolutely nothing to write home about. Except Madson. Maybe. But if Al-Khor want to survive the culling of the Qatar Stars League, they better get some people who can actually set-up goals. Fast.
Al-Shahaniya have been a great joy to watch. But they’re losing, you say? Nonsense, they’re winning in my heart. Alright, I’ll spill, yes, they may be losing but Shami Hassan, Iranian duo Shojaei and Pooladi and Meijia have been their best players.
In fact, I want Al-Shahaniya to stay and Al-Khor to relegate. I want to watch more of the Iranian duo. They may be a spot above relegation, but I think with a more to their game, they can successfully dodge it as Al-Khor crashes. I can see Pascua and Sayyar setting up more goals because Shojaei and Pooladi have been recently locking down hard on defense.
Bonačić won’t accept defeat and will want to stay one more season in the league. But what Al-Shahaniya need to do is focus. Focus hard. They have already proven their mettle and gone against the big dogs of the league. If they can muster some more courage, they will definitely be remembered as one of the most-exciting sides this season.
Having only won 4 games, Al-Wakrah’s time is almost over. Their only consolation was a surprise draw with Lekhwiya. That stunned everyone. Even Al-Wakrah themselves. But for Saez and Ghoochannejhad, they might want to start packing, Al-Wakrah are heading down to the Gas League if their form stays this way.
I cannot see a situation where Al-Wakrah can rise from the ashes. They seem to be doing worse every game and even with Saez, Ghoochannejhad and Moutouali, Al-Wakrah seem to be a total loss.
My suggestion would be to stop playing Dicko. Give Ghoochannejhad, Moutouali and Saez up front and watch what happens. I can probably tell you it won’t be good. At least not for the other wise because I’ve seen those three players play many times and I can attest — they’re good. Al-Wakrah is just not using them to the fullest potential and that may end up costing them.
Al-Shamal might be doing down but at least they won a game, right? And who was that against? Al-Khor. If there’s another bright side for Al-Shamal, it’s their goalkeeper Chibab who has definitely helped keep the scoreline way down. His saves and moves have been real good except, you know, when the defense leaves him out to dry.
The biggest point of Al-Shamal’s weakness is definitely the defense. Nevermind the strikers Dagano and Boutahar who have been helping Al-Shamal all they can but they can’t do it all themselves. And Stojković won’t be all too pleased with relegation because he has gone from winning trophies in Japan to lose in Qatar — it can’t be good.
But it’s not his fault. Al-Shamal just do not have the sufficient players. Indivudually there are some well-valued players but as they say, it takes 11 to make a team and Al-Shamal need to realize that every single player counts. Hopefully in the Qatar Gas League, they will revamp and get better. They seem like the kind of club who knows what their mistakes are. They just needed a season to realize it.