Al Gharafa’s Cicero (right) vies for the ball with Al Khor’s Mohamed Jomaa Alalawi during their Qatar Stars League match yesterday. PICTURE: Othman al-Samaraee
By Sports Reporter/Doha
Lekhwiya assistant coach Albert Fernandez has underlined the importance of consistency if they are to go on and win the Qatar Stars League yet again.
“We have many games lined up in a short period of time. All games are very important for us. More now, than before. We got the crucial victory against Sadd and now it’s up to us to win all matches and get the title. We know the teams that we have to play and we have to win all those matches,” Fernandes said at his pre-match press conference ahead of his team’s match with Al Kharaitiyat today
“We know that Kharaitiyat are in a good shape now. They won the best player and best coach of the month. So it will be very difficult for us.
Last week, Lekhwiya defeated Al Sadd 1-0 to go top of the standings with 45 points from 19 matches. They are two clear of Al Sadd, who will be taking on Al Ahli today.
Lekhwiya, who are also involved in the Asian Champions League, however were not to bothered about their busy schedule.
“When you are playing too many games, it will affect the team. But it’s also true that our players know the importance of every game that we are playing. They are professional players, so we shouldn’t focus too much on the number of games we are playing. We need to switch our mentality from the Asian Champions League back to the QSL and switch back when needed,” said Fernandes.
Kharaitiyat coach Amar Osim, meanwhile, was relishing the prospect of taking on the QSL leaders.
“It’s a very nice test for us. We have done a good job in the last couple of rounds. But this game is going to be special because we play against a team that is going to be much better as compared to the teams that we have played before. And I am curious to see how we perform against a team of their caliber,” said Osim, whose team are in ninth position
“I don’t have the answer as to how we will perform against Lekhwiya. The difference in quality is big between Lekhwiya, Sadd and the other clubs. We have shown that we can do well against good teams but against excellent teams we will have to see.
“We just trained and kept training. We got a few good results and with better results it’s easy for the coach to work with the team. And then the results continued to get better and it got easier for me to work with the team.”
Meanwhile, Al Sadd coach Hussein Ammouta was aware of the challenges for his team, especially after their defeat to Lekhwiya last week
“It’s an important game for us. After the last defeat against Lekhwiya, we can’t afford another slip up if we are to stay in the hunt for the title. Ahli is a difficult team; we will need to give it our maximum if we are to win,” said the Moroccan.
“The win against Hilal in the Asian Champions League has helped a lot. It gives confidence to the players. When you are mentally happy, it helps you put in more effort in the coming games. Now we play eight games, every 2 to 3 days. These are tough games, games where we have to travel outside Doha multiple times. Our players will get tired but wins like this is very important for the spirit of the team.”
In yesterday’s action, mid-table Al Gharafa defeated Al Khor 3-1, while Al Sailiya edged past Al Shamal 2-1.
Brazilian midfielder Cicero Santos put Gharafa ahead in the seventh minute, while Claudiu Keseru and Cristian Bolanos, too, helped themselves with a goal each in the second half. Al Khor’s lone goal was scored by Julio Peu.
Al Sailiya went ahead through a Faouzi Aish penalty in the 21st minute before Abdulrehman al-Harazi consolidated in the 60th. Mamouni Dagano scored the only goal for Al Shamal.
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