Duhail aim to close Al Sadd gap
January 18 2021 11:57 PM
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Al Duhail players train yesterday on the eve of their QNB Stars League match against Qatar SC.

By Sports Reporter/Doha

Al Duhail take on Qatar SC in the QNB Stars League today at the Suheim Bin Hamad Stadium, with both teams eager to get back to winning ways after last week’s defeat. Reigning champions Al Duhail had gone down 1-3 to leaders Al Sadd, while Qatar SC lost 1-2 to Al Rayyan in the last round. The results saw Qatar SC slip by one position, but Al Duhail stood second.
Duhail, however, will be keen to catch up with Al Sadd, who are 11 points ahead of them on the table. The Red Knights coach Sabri Lamouchi urged his team to stay focused against Qatar SC, who he said will pose a threat on counter attack. 
“We have to be the attacking side during this match because the Qatar SC team are good at moving from defence to attack at high speed. We have to stay focused because if we lose focus, we may have to pay a heavy price,” he said yesterday.
“We will look for a victory to compensate for the loss against Al Sadd last week. We know that a difficult match awaits us against Qatar SC. They have high potential and will play against us strongly in order to compensate for their loss against Al Rayyan. Therefore, we have to be fully focused on the field to achieve the desired result,” Lamouchi added.
On Duhail’s new signing Michael Olunga, who joined the Qatar champions from Japanese top-flight J1 League side Kashiwa Reysol recently, Lamouchi said the striker will need time to adapt. “Olunga played his first match against Al Sadd and did not show his known scoring power, but he will add value to the team as he was the top scorer in the Japanese League. He is trying to adapt with his new colleagues,” he said.
Meanwhile, Qatar SC, coached by Younes Ali, will look to consolidate their fourth position. “It will be an exciting match against the defending champions considering we both lost our matches in the last round,” said Ali yesterday.
“We have played a series of tough matches in a short period of time, where we played six games within a month, but we are now in a good condition. As a team, we are keen after each match regardless of a result we get. This is done so that we create more chances to win in the best possible way. What happened against Al Rayyan is that we did not show the required physical level due to back-to-back matches. But I am waiting for a positive reaction from the players against Al Duhail,” he added.
Meanwhile, Al Rayyan face Al Wakrah today. Al Rayyan, under Laurent Blanc, will look to sustain the momentum, having beaten formidable Qatar SC in the last round. The Lions improved from sixth to fifth position with that victory. 
“We are working well as a squad. We have prepared well for this week’s match. We are up to speed with our new training tactics, but there are some players who are not ready and we need to equip all players through rigorous training and matches we play,” said Frenchman Blanc.
Al Wakrah are 10th in the table with 14 points. Al Wakrah and Umm Salal, who had played out a goalless draw last week, have the same number of points, but the latter are placed above on better goal difference. 
“We are ready to take on Al Rayyan,” Wakrah coach Marquez Lopez said. “The team showed a good level in the last match (against Umm Salal), which helped us to recover after the big loss to Al Duhail in the previous week. The playing level of the players also improved as the match wore on. Perhaps, the most important thing in the last match against Umm Salal was that our response as a team was good,” he added.
In the third match today, Umm Salal face Al Arabi, who will look to put behind the disappointment of having drawn 1-1 with Al Gharafa through a last-gasp goal last week. Heimir Hallgrimsson’s side are placed seventh with 19 points.
Meanwhile, leaders Al Sadd face Al Khor tomorrow. The Wolves looks set to regain the title after they brushed past Al Duhail to remain unbeaten in the league this season. Xavi Hernandez’s side were held to goalless draw by Al Khor last time and will be keep to set the record straight.
In other matches tomorrow, Al Gharafa meet Al Kharaitiyat while Al Sailiya take on Al Ahli.



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