Al Sailiya vs Al Duhail — Thursday, 7th December, 2017 @ 16:00, Al Ahli Stadium

QNB Stars League — Week 11

Al Sailiya badly need a victory to regain their confidence, which has been at a low ebb, when they face Al Duhail challenge in Week 11 of the QNB Stars League on Thursday. The match will kick off at 16:00 at the Al Ahli Stadium, Al Sailiya’s home ground.

Al Sailiya suffered back-to-back defeats, at the hands of Al Khor and Al Ahli which are relatively at a lower level, in the last couple of rounds. Yet, they retained their fourth place in the standings with 18 points as fifth-placed Umm Salal could not keep pace with them.

The Peregrines’ had been on a high following a series of positive results and that had prompted Tunisian coach Sami Trabelsi to warn his players against complacency and committing mistakes. And his fears came true.

However, they have a huge task on hand as Al Duhail are the only unbeaten side in the 12-team competition and leading the table with 28 points from nine wins and one draw.

Uzbek striker Temurkhuja Abdukholiqov, their top scorer, leads Al Sailiya’s charge, ably assisted by Wagner Ribeiro, Dragos Grigore, Valentin Lazar and Nadir Belhadj.

Al Duhail boast of the league’s top scorer Youssef El Arabi (15 goals). Captain Youssef Msakni is back to his best, while South Korean playmaker Nam Tae-Hee and Ismail Mohammed are enjoying a good run.

Djamel Belmadi’s men faced a stiff resistance from Al Markhiya last week before winning. No doubt, freshers Al Markhiya played a resolute game, but The Red Knights’ performance was comparatively low as they had defeated strong contenders Al Sadd and then Al Kharaitiyat by big margins in the previous weeks.

“It wasn’t easy against Al Markhiya. They presented a good level of football during their last few matches. They’ve lost with very few mistakes. It’s a good team with quality players. It was hard to face them because of their strong defensive tactics,” Belmadi complemented The Oryxes.

The Algerian, who praised his players’ fighting spirit, said only a thin line separates the top three teams.

“The difference on top is small. We can’t think that we’re ahead in title hunt. The difference between us and Al Rayyan is only three points and between us and Al Sadd is four. We wish this difference remains until the end of the season,” said Belmadi.