Doha: The QNB Stars League title is sealed, the AFC Champions League knock out round is assured in grand fashion, but Al Duhail SC know there is plenty of work still to be done.
But first, they will be looking to beat Al Sailiya on Saturday and celebrate in style.
Djamel Belmadi’s men, who assured the title with two rounds to spare, are unbeaten in the QSL so far and look destined to remain so.
“We want to finish the league like the way we started it, with a victory,” said Belmadi at the pre-match press conference. “Like I said before, we respect our opponents and we play to win. We want to take every game seriously because we want to improve with each match.
“It has been a perfect season until now, but we want to continue this way.”
Another interesting sub-plot of Saturday’s match is the fierce rivalry for the top-scorer spot between Duhail’s two Youssefs, but it seems El Arabi, in all probability, will not be taking the field as he is nursing a knee injury.
“El Arabi has not joined the team,” said Belmadi. “He is still working with the club’s fitness team.”
El Arabi’s absence will give Msakni, on 25 goals, a better chance of overtaking his attacking partner who has one strike more.
He even has an outside chance of beating Clemerson’s record of 27 goals for Al Gharafa in the 2007-08 season.
Besides the goal fest of El Arabi and Msakni, Duhail’s unbeaten run has also a lot to do with top performances elsewhere on the field.
The likes of Karim Boudiaf, Nam Tae Hee and Luis Martin make Duhail’s midfield one of most potent in the whole region, as the recent AFC Champions League results suggest.
And young players such as Bassam Hisham, Almoez Ali and Sultan Al Brake have also made a big impression.
“Bassam has improved a lot as a defensive midfielder. He has the quality of a top a defensive midfielder. He is very good in both positions. He just has to continue the same way. Sultan Al Brake, Abdulla Abdul Salam, Adel Bader al all have good future and I don’t even need to talk about Moez,” said Belmadi. “Working with these young players is very satisfying. Because they are the future of the club and the country too.”