Doha : After their sensational win over top-four side Al Gharafa in their opening match, Qatar Sports Club will aim to keep the momentum going when they take on Al Ahli in the second week of QNB Stars League action today.
For a team that have struggled to keep pace with the big guns over the past few years, their 3-1 over Al Gharafa came as a welcome confidence-boost, something they will seek to draw upon as they seek their second win on the trot.
“The win has boosted the confidence of my players. All our staff are working hard so that we maintain the momentum,” Qatar Sports Club coach Abdulla Mubarak told reporters at his pre-match press conference.
“However, we must be wary of Al Ahli. They are coming off a defeat, so we are expecting a tough game.”
Mubarak added that the opening win has made his task a lot easier.
“It was good to start off the league campaign with a victory. That has made things a bit easy for us, right from training, moulding strategy to implementing it on the field.
“Each match is different and my strategy for each game is also different. We have our strengths and weaknesses, but we must not allow our rivals to take advantage of our weak points.
“I do not rely only on 11 players. We have a good group and I count on all players. We are assessing their qualities individually and our focus is to bring the best out of them. They must be performing consistently in a league competition. We were overwhelmed by the happiness of our fans after beating Al Gharafa.” said Mubarak.
Al Ahli coach Milan Macala, meanwhile, declared that his side are ready for the game, keen to make amends for their 2-0 loss to Al Rayyan last week.
“The first round is over and we could not take any point from it. And we conceded two goals as well. But we are looking forward. We are ready for this game,” said the veteran coach
“Qatar SC are serious opponents for us. It was after a long time that they played such a good game, against Al Gharafa in the first round. They look a strong side. So we must be extra careful against them.”
Macala said playing in air-conditioned stadiums was a new experience for the side.
“Playing the first few rounds in air-conditioned stadiums was a good idea. That made playing comfortable for the players.
“We will miss Iranian professional player Mohamed Reda due to his ankle injury,” added Macala.
Meanwhile, Al Rayyan’s new coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena was also keen to capitalise on his team’s winning start.
“We have tough opponents in Umm Salal. They have what it takes to win and they know how to go about it. They will come hard at us especially since they lost the opening match to Al Sailiya,” said the Argentinian.
“From our side, we will do everything to win this game. One match is not enough to assess any team’s performance. However, from what we have seen, the overall level is good. Most teams are almost at the same level.
“Some teams took advantage of their rivals’ mistakes towards the end of their matches. We see that we are improving as a side. We have no injury worries, except that of key striker Abderrazaq Hamdalah, but then he was missing in action since the end of last season.
Umm Salal coach Laurent Banide was under no illusion about the enormity of the task.
“Each game is difficult and that is football. We know the potential of Al Rayyan, so we have to do more for this game. They have depth in their squad, but we can win if we play well as a team,” he said.
“We are analysing our problems. The players lost focus at times in the last match against Al Sailiya which we lost narrowly through a late goal. Past is past. We are learning from our mistakes. We can improve day by day.”