(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Fawad Hussain |
Doha, Qatar: Al Duhail achieved much glory in the previous season claiming the domestic treble besides marching into the semi-finals of AFC Champions League (ACL).
The ongoing season can't be the same for the Red Knights as they made an early exit from Asia's premier club competition, but still they have a lot to win in front of home fans.
Al Duhail were eliminated from the ACL on Monday despite a 2-0 win over Istiklol at home as Al Nassr entered the last 16 after a goalless draw against Persepolis, who remained the other side from their group with a chance to advance. Al Duhail will now play for pride against Persepolis in their last group match on December 5.
The Qatar heavyweights are now setting sights on repeating their success of the 2022-23 season, when they clinched country's top flight Qatar Stars League besides winning the Ooredoo Cup and Qatar Cup titles.
Those triumphs came under Argentine coach Hernan Crespo, who parted ways with the club“by mutual consent” last month following a dismal start to their ACL campaign.
The task now falls on Crespo's successor Christophe Galtier, who had a challenging start facing the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo's Al Nassr in the beginning of his stint with the Qatari club.
Al Duhail are pretty much on track for another successful domestic season as the possibility of sweeping all titles exists.
They are six points behind QSL (currently known as Expo Stars League) leaders Al Gharafa, having played two matches less than the Cheetahs. Their main challengers in their QSL title defence would be Al Sadd, who lead Galtier's men by three points as both teams have played an equal number of seven matches.
The Red Knights have also qualified for the Ooredoo Cup quarter-final in which they will face Al Arabi on December 28, with Qatar Cup and the prestigious Amir Cup to come.
Galtier, who was not completely satisfied with Al Duhail's performance despite victory against Istiklol, wants improvement from his side to achieve the remaining targets this season.
“We were not good at spreading on the field. I was not satisfied with the actions of some of our players, however the performance improved in the second half and we spread well,” the Frenchman said after a win over the Tajikistan side.
“We must improve after every match. Our victory does not mean that there are no mistakes. Those mistakes must be corrected if we want to win titles,” he stressed.
Striker Michael Olunga, who scored both the Al Duhail goals against Istiklol, hoped to wrap up the season with domestic glory again.
“We have no excuses but we suffered from many absences and injuries,” said the Kenyan star.
“Our goal has always been to win every match we play. We are playing on several fronts, not just the AFC Champions League. We are looking to win the domestic events in the remaining season.”
Al Duhail will next be seen in action when they will host Umm Salal in a league game at Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium on Friday.
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