12 Oct 2017 - 15:58
QSL: Umm Salal aim to extend unbeaten run
By Fawad Hussain / The Peninsula
Umm Salal – the only unbeaten side so far along with leaders Al Duhail and Al Sadd in the new season – will be looking to continue their fine run, eyeing a victory against spirited Al Arabi as QNB Stars League (QSL) resumes on Saturday after a two-week break.
Umm Salal, who have gained 7 points from their previous three rounds, can leapfrog to the top of QSL standings, albeit for a short period, if they manage a victory over Al Arabi at Al Gharafa Stadium. Both Al Duhail and Al Sadd, who have full nine points will play their matches on the following day.
However, Al Arabi will be a tough nut to crack for Umm Salal as the side have shown good performance in the third round, beating Qatar SC to take maximum points.
Al Arabi have managed just 3 points from as many matches. But, the ‘Dream Team’ is showing signs of improvement after every game, as was evident from their 1-1 draw with Umm Salal and 2-2 draw against Al Markhiya in the QSL Cup recently. Umm Salal are currently on third on the points table behind Al Duhail and Al Sadd, with victories over Al Kharaitiyat and Al Ahli, and draw versus Al Gharafa. They have scored five goals and conceded only one.
Both Umm Salal and Al Arabi know each other well and coaches are also sure to know the strengths and weaknesses of the rivals. Umm Salal’s Egyptian coach Mahmoud Jaber has already faced off with Al Arabi’s Tunisian trainer Qais Yaqoubi when he was at the helm of Al Wakrah last season.
Both sides have key players in different positions as Umm Salal rely on a strong frontline led by Ivorian Yannick Sagbo, Syrian Mahmoud Al Mawas, Maher Yossef and Ismail Mahmoud, with Youssef Sikor in the midfield and Adel Rahili at the rear.