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Clubs are continuing their preparations ahead of the resumption of 2023-2024 season Expo Stars League after a break of more than two months due to the preparations, arrangements and organization of AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 (January 12 to February 10), where Qatar triumphed with a strong performance by beating Jordan 3-1 in the final to retain the title Al Annabi won in 2019 in the UAE.

The Expo Stars League was suspended after Week 12 on December 21, 2023. The action will resume with Week 14 matches on February 24 and 25, 2024, following some rescheduling and postponement of Week 13.

Al Sadd are leading the table with 31 points, four more than second-placed Al Wakrah (on better goal difference) and third-placed Al Gharafa (both on 27 points). Al Rayyan are fourth with 22 points. Al Arabi and Al Duhail are both on 17 points, but the former are placed fifth on better goal difference. Umm Salal are seventh with 15 points. Qatar SC and Al Ahli both have 12 points, but the former are in eighth place on better goal difference. Al Shamal are 10th with 11 points, Muaither 11th place with six points and Al Markhiya 12th with four points.

During the long break, the teams continued their preparations to ensure their readiness through technical and physical training or friendly matches. Some clubs also took advantage of the transfer window to strengthen their ranks with player additions.

The official website of Qatar Stars League highlights the preparations and new signings of all 12 Expo Stars League clubs before the return of action.

Al Sadd intensify training, to play friendly against Muaither on Monday

Al Sadd intensified training in the absence of more than 11 players who were with the Qatar national team at the Asian Cup in addition to striker Baghdad Bounedjah who did duty for Algeria at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Al Sadd, under national coach Wesam Rizik, did not play many friendly matches due to the absence of a number of players. The Wolves are to play a friendly against Muaither on Monday, February 19, at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium of Al Sadd club.

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Al Wakrah play 5 friendlies, strengthen ranks with three players

Al Wakrah underwent strong and intense training during the break under Spanish coach Jose Murcia. The Blue Wave played five friendlies. They lost 2-9 to Russian club Dynamo Moscow, 1-4 to Slovan Bratislava of Slovakia and 0-1 to Armenian side Noah. They played out a 2-2 draw with Muaither.

In the last match, Al Wakrah lost 1-2 to Al Ahli on Sunday, February 18.

Meanwhile, Al Wakrah signed three players – Dutchman Adam Maher from Saudi Arabia’s Damac, Abdulaziz Metwaly from Al Shamal and Khaled Ali from Al Rayyan.

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Al Gharafa play 6 friendlies, hold camp, register Lyanco to replace Yohan Boli

Al Gharafa made use of the break to its full extent, be it through training, playing friendly matches or the camp they had from February 5 to 11.

The Cheetahs played six friendlies. They lost 0-1 to Al Khor, beat Al Sailiya 3-2, lost 1-2 to Al Shamal, played out a 2-2 draw with Al Arabi and lost 1-2 to Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia.

The team had a camp at the Hilton Salwa Hotel from February 5 to 11. In their final friendly, they beat Umm Salal 3-0.

Al Gharafa also re-registered Serbian defender Lyanco after he recovered from an injury as replacement for Ivorian Yohan Boli who moved to Qatar SC till the end of season in addition to loaning goalkeeper Claude Amine to Muaither, also till the end of season. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Yousef Hassan returned to training.

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Al Rayyan bolster ranks with three players, play 5 friendlies

Al Rayyan bolstered their ranks with three prominent national players –Ali Qaderi from Al Ahli, and Hazem Shehata and Murad Naji, both from Al Wakrah.

The Lions played five friendly matches and another against Qatar SC is scheduled for Monday, February 19.

Al Rayyan tied with Slovan Bratislava of Slovakia 2-2, beat Al Shahaniya 4-2, beat Umm Salal 3-2 and beat Russian team Zenit 4-2 before drawing 1-1 with Muaither.

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Al Arabi play 3 friendlies, Abdulaziz Al Ansari returns, sign Ibrahim Al Saeed

After losing the final of Ooredoo Cup, the technical staff of Al Arabi, led by national coach Younes Ali, worked to develop a training programme that includes technical and physical aspects to maintain the level of players who underwent training with full force ahead of the resumption of Expo Stars League.

The Dream Team played three friendly matches. They drew 2-2 with Al Gharafa, beat Al Ahli 1-0 and drew 0-0 with Al Markhiya.

Al Arabi signed Ibrahim Al Saeed from Al Sadd until the end of season and regained the services of Abdulaziz Al Ansari after the end of his loan period to Al Shamal.

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Al Duhail feature in Equality Cup, sign Brazilian defender Lucas Verissimo

During the break, Al Duhail played in the Equality Cup held at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium from February 1 to 13. The Red Knights lost their first match to Shanghai Shenhua of China 0-1 before losing to Russia’s Zenit by a 0-2 margin.

They also lost to Brazilian club Santos 3-4 on penalties after the regular time ended 2-2.

Al Duhail also played a friendly against Qatar SC and the game ended in a 3-3 draw.

In the transfer window, Al Duhail transferred Portuguese Ruben Semedo to Al Markhiya and included Brazilian defender Lucas Verissimo from Brazilian club Corinthians, where he was on loan from Portuguese side Benfica.

Meanwhile, Jassim Al Muhairi moved to Al Shamal, and Abdullah Haroun and Abdulrahman Mohammed joined Al Markhiya from Al Duhail.

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Umm Salal sign Portuguese Lucas Joao, play in Al Wahda friendly tournament

Before the big break, Umm Salal had won the 2023-2024 season Ooredoo Cup by defeating Al Arabi in the final with a tiebreaker score of 3-1 after they were tied 4-4.

Afterwards, their French coach Patrice Carteron developed a training programme to maintain the readiness of his wards. The Orange Fortress played in the Al Wahda friendly tournament in January, where they lost to Al Ettifaq of Saudi Arabia on penalties in the semifinal. They had beaten Zamalek of Egypt 2-0 in the third-place play-off.

In the friendlies in Doha, Umm Salal lost 2-3 to Al Rayyan and 0-3 to Al Gharafa.

Umm Salal also announced the signing of Portuguese striker Lucas Joao from Chinese Premier League champions Shanghai Port FC until the end of this season.

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Qatar SC compete in 6 friendlies, sign Yohan Boly and Diab Haroun

Qatar SC continued their strong preparations and strengthened their ranks by signing Ivorian striker Yohan Boli on loan from Al Gharafa and defender Diab Haroun from Al Duhail.

The Kings played five friendly matches and another one is scheduled for Monday, February 19, against Al Rayyan.

Qatar SC lost 0-2 to Iran’s Sepahan and lost 0-3 to Armenia’s FC Noah before beating China’s Shanghai Shenhua 1-0. They then played out draws with Al Khor (1-1) and Al Duhail (3-3).

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Al Ahli sign Ramon Arias amid strong preparations

Al Ahly signed Uruguayan player Ramon Arias from Muaither to replace Colombian defender Danilo Arboleda.

They too played some friendlies. The Brigadiers lost 2-3 to Iranian team Sepahan, lost 0-1 to Al Arabi and beat Al Wakrah 2-1.

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Al Shamal sign Moroccan Younes Belhanda, Olwan moves to Al Khor, beat Al Gharafa in friendly

Al Shamal signed prominent Moroccan midfielder Younes Belhanda from Turkish club Adana Demirspor.

They also agreed to loan Jordanian striker Ali Olwan to Al Khor.

Al Shamal beat Al Gharafa in a friendly match by a 2-1 margin.

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Muaither recruit Yazan Al Arab, Thiago, Al Bustami and Claude Amine, play 4 friendlies

Muaither signed a number of distinguished players to strengthen their ranks. They included Jordanian international defender Yazan Al Arab from Iraq’s Al Shorta club, Brazilian professional Thiago Di Luanco, coming from the Emirati club Khor Fakkan, Moataz Bostami from Qatar SC and goalkeeper Claude Amine from Al Gharafa on loan until the end of season.

The team played four friendlies. They beat Mesaimeer 3-2, drew 2-2 with Armenian team FC Noah, lost 2-3 to Al Bidda and drew 1-1 with Al Rayyan.

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Al Markhiya attract Bashar Resan, Semedo; prepare strongly

Al Markhiya, desperate to avoid relegation, signed a number of distinguished players, most notably Iraqi international midfielder Bashar Resan from Qatar SC on loan until the end of season and Portuguese defender Ruben Semedo from Al Duhail.

In addition, they signed Mohammed Khaled Al Nuaimi, Abdullah Haroun and Abdulrahman Mohammed from Al Duhail, and goalkeeper Omar Barry.

In friendlies, Al Markhiya drew 0-0 with Al Arabi, drew 1-1 with FC Noah and lost 1-3 to Al Khor.

 

 

 

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Published on: 19/02/2024

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