(MENAFN- Gulf Times)
Former champions Al Duhail will hope to maintain their winning run when they face Al Sailiya in their 15th round match of Qatar Stars League at the Qatar SC Stadium today.
Al Duhail Coach Luis Castro has warned his players of repeating mistakes against the bottom-placed Al Sailiya. The Red Knights climbed on top of the standings with 32 points after a win over Al Gharafa in the previous round.
However, reigning champions Al Sadd – 31 points – are expected to regain their top spot when they return to action following postponement of their games against Al Wakrah (Round 11), Qatar SC (Round 12) and Al Rayyan (Round 14) due to Covid-19.
Castro hoped his team would stay first in the standings but stressed that winning every match has become a must, for which his ranks will have to avoid mistakes.
“Our team lost two important matches, from which we could have scored six points, against Al Wakrah and Umm Salal. We must not make the same mistakes that we made. We will enter the Al Sailiya match in order to win,” Castro told a pre-match press conference yesterday.
Al Duhail had beaten Al Sailiya 5-0 in the first leg but the Portuguese coach said his team cannot take the struggling side for granted in today's clash.
“There are new players in Al Sailiya and we do not know how they will play, but our focus on preparing our players will be the most important thing for us. In the first leg, it was not an easy match and Al Sailiya had several chances that they could have translated into goals. Yes we have absences, but those who play will compensate for them,” said Castro.
Speaking about the title race with Al Sadd, Castro said:“I hope Al Duhail stays in the first place with the same number of matches as Al Sadd. Our players are always motivated to collect points and they have a winning mentality.”
Al Sailiya, under Tunisian coach Sami Trabelsi, are on the bottom with only five points from 14 matches – one victory, two draws and 11 defeats.
Trabelsi hoped his team would bounce back and achieve a positive result against Al Duhail.
“Our matches against Al Duhail are always strong due to the strength of the competitors who have players of high quality. And this makes us play the match without psychological pressure. This makes the players fully focused and present a good level, and I hope that we will succeed in achieving a positive result,” said Trabelsi.
“We know the Al Duhail team well and that they have outstanding players, overseas and nationals, in addition to having a strong bench, especially since the physical factor is very important at this stage, during which we play a match every three or four days,” he added.
The other match earlier today will pit Al Arabi and Qatar SC at the Qatar SC Stadium.
Al Arabi, who beat Al Sailiya 1-0 in Round 14, have the same number of points (23) as Al Gharafa, but the former are placed fourth on goal difference (0 as against Al Gharafa's +6).
Qatar SC are ninth on the table with 13 points (three wins, four draws and six defeats) from 13 matches.
Also today, Al Ahli will meet Al Wakrah on their home turf.
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