SOLDIERS MARCH ON
El Jaish coach Sabri Lamouchi was a bit worried how his players would effectively switch the domestic and AFC Champions League duties, but they responded to the Frenchman’s call. And after three rounds, the Soldiers find themselves on top of the table with nine points, the only team with an all-win record. Despite making many changes to the squad, Lamouchi could help his team to a win against Al Khor. And Jaish will face a big test against Al Rayyan on Saturday.
Rayyan fans would have hoped for a far better performance from their team against Al Sailiya which was Michael Laudrup’s first match in charge. But the Dane, who replaced Jorge Fossati, surprised with his formation and also decision to deploy Mousa Haroun as right-back. Rayyan fell behind to a fifth-minute goal, but came back to draw parity. Abdulrahman Al Harazi, who joined Rayyan in the pre-season, however, impressed against his former team and looked really motivated.
Djamel Belmadi should be worried with the way his defenders have performed in the last two matches, against Al Gharafa and Al Sadd. The Cops’ defence was not really tested in the first match against Muaither, but they let in seven goals in the last two. Belmadi seemed to be missing sweeper Ahmed Maksoud, who joined Al Arabi on a season-long loan deal.
REASONS TO BE HAPPY
Al Shahaniya had finished as runners-up behind Muaither
in the Qatargas League (Second Division), but the Oryxes have had a reasonable run in the top-flight so far. Last week, they twice took lead against Umm Salal before settling for a 2-2 draw. Tunisian coach Fathi Al Jabal had left prior to the match, but caretaker Jose Da Silva did an impressive job of getting the team ready for the game. They played fearlessly and looked good even to return with their second victory.
WEAK ORANGE FORTRESS
Umm Salal’s Turkish coach Bulent Uygun might be sweating over the knee injury of centre-back Anderson Martins, who has been ruled out for two months. The Brazilian, who joined from Al Gharafa, had looked good in the previous match against Al Rayyan. In his absence, Uygun played Juan Ahnach as the only centre-back in a three-man defensive line. Anderson’s injury should give the Orange Fortress some cause for concern.