IT IS BACK to the drawing board for Al Arabi, who failed to finish in the top two in the Qatar League for the first time in three years.
Their pride was at stake when they took on Police in their last match and it was dented further after the heart-breaking loss.
Though the title had already been ceded, had Arabi defeated Police, they could at least have finished as runners-up.
In the end, they had to be content with just a point from the match for an overall tally of 48 which meant they could finish only third.
Arabi were atop the standings till December, but the loss to Police, followed by that against arch-rivals Al Rayyan in the last match of first phase derailed their campaign.
Last-minute change of professional player — Brazilian Leandro Vissotto was replaced by compatriot Fabricio Souza — did little to stop their slide. They also changed coach, with Brazilian Patrick Duflot coming in for Tunisian Mawia Alajnaf. But that also came a tad late.
It is not all lost as the upcoming GCC Club Championship at home offers them a chance for redemption.
Meanwhile, Jaish opened their Arab Clubs Championship campaign in Bahrain with a win against Libya’s Al Suwaihli last Monday. Rayyan is the other Qatari club in the fray.