Al Sadd regained the top position in 2023-2024 season Expo Stars League standings after the conclusion of Week 11 matches on Saturday. The Wolves have also demonstrated their preparedness to fiercely compete for the title this season.
The action, held on December 8 and 9, saw four matches end in draw, with three having a scoreline of 1-1 while one ended in a 2-2 draw.
A total of 19 goals were scored, one less than in the previous round.
Muaither drew Al Arabi 2-2
Umm Salal drew Al Markhiya 1-1
Al Wakrah bt Al Ahli 3-2
Al Duhail drew Qatar SC 1-1
Al Gharafa drew Al Shamal 1-1
Al Sadd bt Al Rayyan 4-0
There were two red cards, with Al Duhail’s South Korean defender Kim Moon-Hwan and Al Rayyan forward Rodrigo Moreno from Spain getting the marching orders. Overall, there were a total of 34 yellow cards issued. However, only Al Sadd managed to keep a clean sheet.
During this round, there was a significant change in the rankings. Al Sadd reclaimed the top position from Al Gharafa after a convincing 4-0 victory over Al Rayyan in the Qatar Clasico. The Wolves dominated most of the match, particularly in the second half, where they scored all goals.
Al Rayyan faced numerous challenges due to the absence of several players. Moreno was sent off in the ninth minute of the match for a tackle on Al Sadd defender Pedro Miguel.
The encounter showcased the exceptional talent of Algerian sensation Baghdad Bounedjah, who netted a hat-trick, propelling Al Sadd’s tally to 25 points despite having two matches postponed. On the other hand, Al Rayyan slipped to fourth position following this defeat, having previously climbed to third place in the 10th round with a resounding victory over Al Ahli. Consequently, Al Rayyan’s total points remained at 19.
Al Gharafa experienced another setback as they were held to a draw against Al Shamal in their second consecutive home match. This comes after their previous draw against Al Wakrah in the last round, with both matches ending in a 1-1 scoreline.
Despite Al Gharafa initially securing the lead in the first half with Ivorian Yohan Boli’s goal, Al Shamal managed to secure a valuable equalizer in the dying moments of the second half. Cape Verde striker Ricardo Gomes successfully converted a penalty kick in the fourth minute of stoppage time, boosting his team’s points tally to 10 in the standings.
With this draw, Al Gharafa lost the lead they had held on to in the previous rounds in the absence of Al Sadd who were busy competing in the group stage of AFC Champions League.
Meanwhile, Al Wakrah managed to reclaim the third position by securing a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Al Ahli. It allowed them to bounce back from their previous draw with Al Gharafa, which had caused them to slip to fourth place.
Although Al Ahli were the first to score through Oumar Sekou, Al Wakrah showed their grit and scored three goals with Algerian Mohamed Benyettou getting two, while Ayoub Assal scored one, to reach 21 points and secured third place in the table, while Al Ahli remained on nine points and in 10th place.
Al Duhail's attempt to recover from their elimination in the Asian Champions League and regain the support of their fans especially after their defeat in the tenth round against Umm Salal was unsuccessful as they conceded a goal and settled for a 1-1 draw against Qatar SC.
Despite initially taking the lead in the 19th minute through Suhaib Gannan, Qatar SC’s Essa Ahmed scored a magnificent goal with just 10 minutes remaining, securing a valuable point for his team. The result brought Qatar SC’s tally to 12 points, keeping them in eighth position, while Al Duhail remained in fifth place with 17 points and two postponed matches.
Umm Salal, on the other hand, managed to hold onto their sixth position with 15 points after a 1-1 draw against Al Markhiya. Similarly, Al Arabi maintained their seventh place with 13 points following a 2-2 draw with Muaither.
Under the guidance of Algerian coach Madjid Bougherra, Al Markhiya finally put an end to their streak of consecutive losses since their victory over Al Shamal in the sixth week. However, they still find themselves in 12th and last place with only four points.
Muaither continued to deliver impressive performances under the guidance of Uruguayan coach Jorge da Silva. He showcased his skills against Al Arabi as they maintained their lead until the ninth minute of stoppage time in the second half, when Al Arabi managed to equalize. Prior to this, Muaither had a goalless draw with Al Rayyan in Week 9. Despite these results, Muaither stood in 11th position with six points.
It may be noted that the rescheduled games will be played in the upcoming days, prior to the commencement of second leg starting with Week 12.
Al Sadd face Al Duhail in a postponed match from Week 9 on Wednesday, December 13.
The Al Duhail vs Al Wakrah and Al Sadd vs Al Arabi matches, postponed from Week 6, are scheduled to take place on December 17, 2023.
The 2023-2024 season Expo Stars League’s Week 12 games are scheduled for December 20 and 21.
Wednesday, December 20, 2023
Muaither vs Al Wakrah
Al Gharafa vs Qatar SC
Al Shamal vs Al Arabi
Al Rayyan vs Al Markhiya
Thursday, December 21, 2023
Al Duhail vs Al Ahli
Al Sadd vs Umm Salal