The QNB Stars League Week 19 action witnessed interesting results and thrilling contests. The battle on top hotted up, with leaders Al Sadd and reigning champions Al Duhail both winning.
Victories helped Al Sadd, Al Duhail, Al Rayyan, Al Gharafa and Al Kharaitiyat stand in good stead with only three matches remaining.
Al Sadd put it across Al Sailiya 2-0 and Al Duhail survived a scare from Umm Salal as they came back from a goal down to script a 3-1 victory.
Four points continued to separate the top duo. Al Sadd have 50 points and Al Duhail 46.
Tournament top scorer Baghdad Bounedjah and Akram Afif scored the goals for Al Sadd, while Yousef El Arabi (two) and Mohammed Muntari found Al Duhail’s goals. Lawrence Quaye was Umm Salal’s scorer.
It was Al Sadd’s 16th victory and Al Duhail’s 14th. All eyes are now on the much-awaited battle between the big guns in Week 20. Al Sadd will win the coveted league shield for a record-extending 14th time in history if they beat Al Duhail as The Wolves will have an unassailable lead over The Red Knights, who had two stoppage-time goals to thank for against Umm Salal.
Al Sailiya, for whom Abdulkadir Ilyas missed a penalty before the striker had a goal ruled offside, slipped from third to fourth position in the QNB Stars League table as they stayed on 31 points. Umm Salal saw themselves slip from seventh to ninth place with 20 points.
Al Rayyan occupied the third spot with a 1-0 win over high-flying Al Khor, with Rodrigo Tabata netting the all-important goal.
The Lions now have 33 points. Al Khor, who went into the game on the back of two consecutive victories, remained 11th with 15 points.
Al Kharaitiyat made it really big in their fight to avoid relegation as they defeated Qatar SC 1-0, with Valentin Lazar finding the winning goal. The Thunders thus completed a hat-trick of wins and moved to 12 points, only three less than 11th-placed Al Khor.
Qatar SC, on the other hand, put themselves in trouble as they stayed on 16 points.
Al Gharafa did well to beat Al Arabi 2-1 en route to climbing to seventh position from ninth.
Winter signing Wilfried Bony scored for Al Arabi before conceding an own goal. Ahmed Alaaeldin netted a goal for Al Gharafa, who now have 22 points. The Dream Team remained sixth in the standings on 27 points despite defeat.
Al Ahli and Al Shahania shared the spoils after a goalless draw to stay fifth and eighth with 29 and 20 points respectively. It was the only drawn encounter of 19th round, which witnessed 11 goals being scored as against 27 in Week 18.