Al Gharafa vs Al Duhail — Thursday, 8th February, 2018 @ 16:40, Al Gharafa Stadium
The Al Gharafa vs Al Duhail clash in Week 16 of the QNB Stars League on Thursday hogs the limelight for more reasons than one. The kick-off is at 16:40 at the Al Gharafa Stadium.
Both Al Duhail and Al Gharafa are coming off victories, against Al Ahli and Al Khor respectively. The Red Knights are leading the standings with 39 points, while The Cheetahs are placed sixth on 20 points.
Djamel Belmadi-coached Al Duhail are the only unbeaten side so far in this sason’s league competition. They have 12 victories to their credit, the same as nearest rivals Al Sadd, while drawing three matches.
Al Duhail also have the credit of having scored the most number of goals (54) among all teams. Al Sadd are next on 43, while Al Gharafa have only 24. The goal difference is +35 for Al Duhail and -1 for Al Gharafa.
On the players’ front, Al Duhail have the QNB Stars League’s top two scorers in Moroccan striker Youssef El Arabi (20) and captain and Tunisian attacking midfielder Youssef Msakni (14). Then, they have South Korean playmaker Nam Tae-Hee on eight goals.
Al Duhail will also have the services of striker Almoez Ali, who recently represented Qatar at the Asian Under-23 Championship in China and finished as the top scorer with six goals.
Al Gharafa have made significant progress in the second phase, where they have registered more number of victories (three) than they did in the entire first phase, taking their total wins to five. They have five draws and as many defeats against their name.
They embarked on the league campaign after the month-long break under Turkish coach Bulent Uygun, who replaced Frenchman Jean Fernandez.
They roped in Dutch World Cup runners-up and UEFA Champions League winner Wesley Sneijder and Iranian striker Mehdi Taremi, while Chilean midfielder Luis Jimenez, who captained the side in the first half of the season, moved to Qatar SC.
The big question is ‘Will Sneijder & Co halt the Al Duhaul juggernaut?’