Leaders Al Sadd prepare for key clash against Al Ahli

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QNB Stars League leaders Al Sadd hit the ground running yesterday as they prepared for tomorrow’s match against Al Ahli. Jesualdo Ferreira’s men will become champions for a record 14th time if they beat Al Ahli at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium, with a game to spare in the league.

Al Sadd were back to training on Sunday itself, a day after they were held to a 2-2 draw by defending champions and second-placed Al Duhail. A victory at the Duhail stadium on Saturday would have sealed them the title, and they now will eager to finish the job against fifth-placed Al Ahli.

Sadd currently has 51 points and sit on top of the table, four ahead of Al-Duhail, who face bottom-placed Al Kharaitiyat tomorrow. Sadd head coach Jesualdo Ferreira had stressed on the importance of his team’s draw against Duhail, and was confident his team can get the job done tomorrow. “Al Ahli are a strong side and defeated us in the first phase. They have the objective of reaching the top four and we are looking to be crowned as champions. Our goal will only be to win so that we can lift the title,” the Portuguese said.

“There will be huge pressure on us against Al-Ahli but I’m confident in my players and their abilities to successfully navigate this game,” he added.

Meanwhile, Al Ahli are tied with fourth-placed Al Rayyan on 33 points, so they will be keen to collect points in their bid to finish in the top-four bracket.

The Qatar Stars League decided to hold all matches of the penultimate on one day in order to give all 12 teams equal advantage. The final round of matches will be played either on 12th or 13th April. The kick-off timings and venues will be decided later. Tomorrow, four matches will be played at 6:10pm and two at 8:20pm, with Sadd and Duhail to play in early kick-off.

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Duhail, who will be hoping for Al Sadd to slip up against Ahli, should have little problem in beating Kharaitiyat, who will be relegated if they lose tomorrow. Al Kharaitiyat has only 12 points, six less than 10thh placed Al Khor and four fewer than 11th placed Qatar SC.

In other match, Seventh-placed Al Gharafa (25 points) take on Al Khor (10th with 18 points) with an eye to improve their position even though they cannot finish among the top four this season. On the other hand, Al Khor are still not completely out of danger zone and will look to sustain the winning momentum, having defeated Kharaitiyat in the last round by a big margin.

Qatar SC, 11th with 16 points, face Al Arabi with relegation threat in mind. Al Arabi are sixth with 27 points. Al Rayyan and Al Sailiya will take the field with top-four finish at stake as the latter have only one point more than the former (33 points). Al Shahania will surely have a point to prove when they play Umm Salal.Coutesy:GulfTimes