The race for the 2018-19 season QNB Stars League title further hotted up after the Week 20 action, which also witnessed exciting contests, results and surprises.
Reigning champions Al Duhail and leaders Al Sadd went into their high-voltage face-off, with the latter having a four-point lead and needing victory to be crowned the new champions as only two more rounds are to be played.
However, Al Duhail brought out a gritty fight on their home turf to play out a 2-2 draw and thus stop The Wolves from clinching their 14th league triumph.
Moroccan striker Yousef El Arabi scored both goals, including a penalty, for Al Duhail who now have 47 points. Al Sadd had taken the lead through tournament top scorer Baghdad Bounedjah and were helped by an own goal by The Red Knights’ defender Murad Naji right at the death.
Al Sadd, who moved to 51 points, will become the 2018-19 QNB Stars League champions irrespective of Al Duhail’s result if they beat Al Ahli in Week 21.
Meanwhile, Bounedjah took his tally to 36 goals. El Arabi is second on 25.
Al Sailiya stormed into the third position from fourth with a 1-0 victory over Al Shahaniya (21 points) as Al Rayyan slipped to fourth place after losing 2-4 to Al Gharafa, who stood seventh with 25 points.
Moroccan forward Rachid Tiberkanine netted the all-important goal for Al Sailiya, who have 34 points. In the process, he equalled his tally of 13 goals he scored for Al Kharaitiyat last season.
Al Rayyan, who remained on 33 points, surged ahead against Al Gharafa through Rodrigo Tabata’s penalty conversion, but The Cheetahs enjoyed an upper hand since then. Gelmin Rivas was The Lions’ other scorer.
For Al Gharafa, Vladimir Weiss (two goals including a penalty), Mehdi Taremi and Lucas Mendes were on target.
Al Ahli kept the fifth position with a 2-1 win over Al Arabi to be on 33 points. Nevertheless, Al Arabi stayed sixth with 27 points.
Meshaal Abdullah and Mohammed Al Bayati were Al Ahli’s scorers, while Victor Vazquez gave Al Arabi’s reply.
Umm Salal kept their position safe with a 1-0 victory against Qatar SC, with Mahmoud Al Mawas netting the winner.
The Orange Fortress moved from ninth to eighth position with 23 points as Qatar SC (16 points) made things difficult for themselves by slipping from 10th to 11th place.
In the match-up between two teams directly fighting to avoid relegation, Al Khor blanked Al Kharaitiyat 4-0, riding on Brazilian striker Tiago Bezerra’s hat-trick. Helal Mohammed also got on to the scoresheet.
Al Kharaitiyat remained at the bottom of the table with 12 points, staring at relegation. Al Khor did themselves a world of good with three vital points to have a tally of 18 that earned them the 10th spot.