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The 2023-2024 season Expo Stars League witnessed challenges and difficulties, and competition between the teams lasted till the final round.

It is certain that the teams will seek to build on their positives and address areas for improvement in order to be better in the new season (2024-2025).

In successive episodes, we review each team’s performance in the 2023-2024 Expo Stars League.

AL ARABI

Al Arabi fell outside the top-four bracket in the final standings of 2023-2024 Expo Stars League compared to the last two seasons (2021-2022 and 2022-2023), where they finished among the top four. In the season before last, The Dream Team ended up fourth with 36 points and last season they collected 49 points to narrowly lost out to champions Al Duhail by two points.

This time around, Al Arabi finished fifth with 29 points, the same number of points they obtained in the 2020-2021 season when they ended up in seventh place.

Most number of draws

From 22 matches, Al Arabi registered seven victories, as many defeats and eight draws (the most number by any team). They scored a total of 42 goals and conceded 38.

Same coach for third season

Al Arabi were known for technical stability, with prominent national coach Younes Ali continuing at their helm for the third consecutive season. Besides his achievements with the side in the league, Younes had guided them to Amir Cup triumph and won the Best Coach Award, both in the 2022-2023 season.

Younes, in co-ordination with the club management and support staff, developed a comprehensive plan for the team in preparation for the season, be it through the preparatory camp, training or new contracts.

Deals to strengthen the team

Al Arabi strengthened their ranks by signing a number of players, most notably Italian star Marco Verratti from Paris Saint-Germain in addition to Abdou Diallo,  and Mohamed Al Tabouni as well as Ahmed Moein from Qatar SC.

The team line-up included many high-level players, the most prominent being Tunisian star Yousef Msakni, the best player in the 2022-2023 season, and Syrian sharpshooter Omar Al Somah as well as Ahmed Fathi, Jassem Jaber and goalkeeper Jassim Al Hail among others.

3 consecutive draws at season start

Al Arabi began the season with three consecutive draws, against Al Shamal (1-1), Umm Salal (1-1) and Al Duhail (3-3), and lost 0-1 to Al Rayyan in Week 4 in a summit clash attended by more than 28,000 spectators at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium of Al Rayyan club. They thus dropped nine points in the first four rounds.

First win

Al Arabi recorded their first victory in the Expo Stars League in Week 5 by defeating Qatar SC 1-0.

Between ups and downs in levels during some rounds, Al Arabi finished the first leg with 16 points in sixth place.

Seriousness and friendly matches

The technical staff of Al Arabi, led by Younes, worked to develop a comprehensive training programme for the players during the Asian Cup break.

The team played friendly matches against Al Gharafa, Al Ahli and Al Markhiya.

During the winter transfer period, they regained the services of Abdulaziz Al Ansari from Al Shamal and signed Ibrahim Al Saeed from Al Sadd.

Action returns

The Expo Stars League returned after the Asian Cup break with Week 14 action, where they tied 2-2 against Al Duhail.

Al Arabi ended their league campaign by defeating Muaither 4-3 in Week 22 to be on 29 points.

Al Somah, the team’s top scorer

A number of Al Arabi players put up strong performances, most notably Al Somah, the team’s top scorer in the league with 17 goals and fourth in the list of scorers, after Akram Afif, Yacine Brahimi and Roger Guedes.

Msakni, who scored nine goals this season in the league, Ahmed Fathi and Jassem Jaber, among others, also excelled.

 

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Published on: 15/05/2024

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