The QNB Stars League Week 17 witnessed exciting contests, intense battles and upset results as the teams pulled up their socks with five rounds of action remaining. A total of 13 goals were scored and only one match ended in a draw.
Leaders Al Sadd extended their lead on top of the standings as they moved four points clear of reigning champions Al Duhail.
Al Sadd defeated Al Rayyan 4-0 in the much-awaited Qatar Clasico in front of a large crowd at the Al Sadd Stadium, which wore a festive look with Fan Zone and other activities. Tournament top scorer Baghdad Bounedjah, Abdelkarim Hassan and Akram Afif (two goals including a penalty) scored the goals.
Al Sadd moved to 44 points, four ahead of Al Duhail and 14 more than Al Rayyan.
It was Al Sadd’s 14th victory in the 2018-19 season QNB Stars League, the most by any team, while Al Rayyan suffered their third defeat.
Al Rayyan slipped from third to fourth position as The Lions remained on 30 points.
Al Sadd’s achievement came after Al Duhail dropped points following a goalless draw with Al Gharafa.
The result was a big blow to The Red Knights’ bid to retain the title. Ace Moroccan striker Yousef El Arabi and new Japanese recruit Shoya Nakajima all tried hard, but could not make a breakthrough. Theye were also affected by the absence of Almoez Ali who was the Most Valuable Player and top scorer at the recent Asian Cup, where Qatar emerged as victorious.
It was the fifth time that Al Duhail were dropping points as they had been drawn three times earlier and lost once.
For Al Gharafa, it was a big consolation as they had lost to Umm Salal in the previous round.
Al Sailiya were back to the third place from fifth with 31 points after defeating Al Ahli 1-0, with Abdulqadir Ilyas netting the all-important goal. The Brigadiers slipped one position to fifth with 29 points.
Bottom side Al Kharaitiyat beating Umm Salal 1-0, with Valentin Lazar scoring the winner, was a stunner. The victory gave The Thunders three valuable points as they struggle to avoid relegation.
While Umm Salal stood at 20 points, Al Kharaitiyat have six points, still lagging behind Al Khor, who stunned Qatar SC 3-1 to be on 12 points.
Thiago Bezerra, Wagner Dos Santos and Musaab Abdulmajid were on target for Al Khor. Samuel Eto’o scored for Qatar SC, who remained on 16 points.
Al Arabi collected three valuable points, taking their tally to 24, after beating Al Shahania 2-1 in the other fixture. The losers stood on 17 points.