When Al Sadd host Al Arabi in what is dubbed as the Qatar Derby, it will be one of the biggest advertisements for football in Qatar. It is the first high-profile match in the 2018-19 QNB Stars League that kicked off on 4th August.
Both clubs have huge fan following, so the clash will be noted on and off the field. It will also evoke keen interest among all stakeholders.
Al Sadd, nicknamed The Wolves, and Al Arabi, nicknamed The Dream Team, both are on a high following their victories in the first round, against Al Kharaitiyat and Al Khor respectively.
Al Sadd’s 6-0 victory was the biggest margin of wins in Week 1, while Al Arabi registered a narrow 1-0 success, with Colombian striker Franco Arizala netting the all-important goal.
With new additions Spaniard Gabi Fernandez and South Korean midfielder Jung Woo-Young gelling well with an already-impressive squad that has the likes of another Spanish star Xavi Hernandez, Algerian ace Baghdad Bounedjah, Hassan Al Haydous, Akram Afif, Ali Asad and Boualem Khoukhi, Al Sadd, who now lead the QNB Stars League standings ahead of Al Duhail on goal difference, look formidable.
Bounedjah had contributed a hat-trick and Akram a brace to their win over Al Kharaitiyat.
Al Sadd are also strengthened by the return of defender Ibrahim Majed from an injury.
The win over Al Khor tremendously boosted the confidence of Al Arabi, who are sixth in the table. And they are keen on maintaining the momentum.
Franco leads the charge of an Al Arabi side that also includes players such as Brazilians Diego Jardel and Mailson de Farias, and Iraqi Ahmed Ibrahim. Their notable Qatari players are Mohamed Salah El Neel, Mustafa Abdi, Fahd Khalfan, goalkeeper Masoud Zeraei, Ahmed Fathi and Abdullah Marafih.