Doha: Right from the first day of the season, Al Duhail SC were a class apart. Djamel Belmadi’s men underlined their superiority yet again on Friday, for the umpteenth time this season, to blank Al Khararityat 5-0 and ensure the QNB Stars League title in style.
Al Sadd’s defeat against Umm Salal had given Duhail, undefeated in the league so far, an unexpected chance to grab the title on Friday itself, and they were not going to let that opportunity go to waste.
Duhail now have an unassailable 54 points from 20 games, while Sadd are on 46.
"Before we entered the game, we knew the result of the Sadd-Umm Salal match, and this gave us the motivation to win," said Belmadi, at the post-match press conference. "Our next goal is to finish the season without a defeat and I think it would be an achievement for us to do that and we need to be serious and committed in the remaining matches."
Mohammed Musa and Ismael Mohammed made it 2-0 in the first half while Youssef El Arabi helped himself with another goal, his 24th of the campaign before captain Youssef Msakni, who came in as a substitute, scored two in two minutes as Duhail enjoyed another goal rush to warm up nicely for next Monday’s AFC Champions League clash against Lokomotiv Tashkent.
Duhail have won all three of their matches in Group B and Belmadi, with an eye on the match in Tashkent, had named a slightly weakened first 11 against Kharaitiyat, with captain Msakni, midfield marshal Karim Boudiaf and defensive rock Lucas Medes on the bench.
But that did not affect them at all as Musa put them ahead in the 26th minute, slotting home Nam Tae Hee’s freekick with a finish El Arabi would have been proud of.
Ismael then made it 2-0 ten minutes with a header at the far post and this time Almoez Ali was the provider.
El Arabi made it 3-0 in the 56th, smartly finishing a move on the left by Almoez while Msakni’s double made it an intriguing battle for the top-scorer spot.
Masakni now have 23 goals to his name and it looks the battle for the top-scorer spot will go to the wire.
Duhail look all set to finish unbeaten in the league this season, but they have bigger aims and AFC Champions League is one among them.
Meanwhile, Al Rayyan, who certainly have got themselves into a freefall, lost 1-3 against Al Arabi.