By Sports Reporter/Doha
With two of their star players suffering injuries barely two weeks into the new football season, defending champions Al Duhail will be keen to come away unscathed as they take on Al Khor in their second QNB Stars League match today.
Ismail Mohamed suffered a double fracture during their 3-0 win over Al Shahania last week, a few days after Karim Boudiaf had injured himself while facing Al Rayyan in the Sheikh Jassim Cup.
They were already without the services of their Tunisian talisman Youssef Msakni who had suffered a serious ligament injury at the end of last season and won’t be back in action until at least November.
Boudiaf’s injury is relatively minor and coach Nabil Maaloul was optimistic he would recover in time for Duhail’s AFC Champions League match against Iran’s Persepolis later this month.
“We have lost the services of Karim Boudiaf and Ismail Mohamed in successive matches to injuries, and we wish Karim recovers in time for our AFC Champions League quarter-final against Persepolis,” Maaloul said at his pre-match press conference.
“We also hope Ismail recuperates as soon as possible and that our players avoid injuries in the coming games. We will give opportunity to all players and everyone has to be at good physical and technical levels.”
Tunisian Maaloul, who replaced Djamel Belmadi at the start of the season after the latter took over as coach of his native Algerian national team, however added that his team had enough resources to beat Al Khor.
“We will definitely aim for a second victory and three points, but the task will not be easy. I told my players that we would face a worthy competitor who have lost their first game and are seeking compensation. Al Khor players will certainly react,” said Maaloul.
Al Duhail defender Mohamed Musa added: “We play every game with the same determination, to achieve a positive result, and the Al Khor match is no different. I have great confidence in the ability of my teammates and we will achieve a positive result in this match too.
“It’s still the beginning of a new season and the coach has the right options and plans for each game. We will play with all seriousness.”
Al Khor coach Adel Sellimi hoped his team will make amends for their loss to Al Arabi last week.
“It’s good that our players are determined to react against Al Duhail and achieve a positive result. Our task is not easy and we will face a team that had not lost a game throughout last season’s league competition. We will fight it out on the pitch,” he said.
“The defeat to Al Arabi in our first match was tough to digest because of the good performance by our players. However, that did not make great psychological impact on my wards and we have closed the chapter. The focus is on the next game against Al Duhail.”
In another match today, Al Gharafa take on Al Sailiya. Al Gharafa, who finished fourth last season, had lost to Qatar Sports Club last week.
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