Doha: Al Sadd lost to Umm Salal 1-2 in the QNB Stars League on Friday, giving Al Duhail SC a chance to seal the title with a victory against Al Kharaitiyat later in the day.
Sadd, keeping in mind their AFC Champions League tie against Nasaf on Tuesday, fielded a weakened team but their ploy backfired as Umm Salal handed them their third straight defeat in all competitions.
Hassan Ahmad headed home Hassan Al Haydous' beautifully floated freee-kick to put Al Sadd ahead in the 11th minute.
The goal not only gave Sadd the lead, but more importantly, it also calmed the nerves of the young side which had struggled in the opening few minutes.
Sadd were without a number of first-team players including Baghdad Bounedjah and Abdulkarim Hassan, who both were rested while the injured Xavi Hernandez and Morteza Mohammed watched from the stands. Pedro Miguel, Akram Afif, and Jugurtha Hamroun were on the substitutes bench.
But the team, comprising mostly of under-23 players, did a good job of containing Umm Salal and were ahead by a goal at half time though they did not offer much of an attacking threat after scoring.
But Umm Salal came back from the breather a lot more determined and equalised in the 47th minute after a comedy of errors from Al Sadd.
Al Asad lost possession just outside his area on the right and when the ball came to Mohammed El Zayed through Yannick Sagbo, Sadd had plenty of players behind the ball.
El Sayed could not pack any power into his left footed shot, but it got a deflection off Boulem Khoukhi's extended leg and went in, wrongfooting Sadd keeper Meshaal Barshim.
Umm Salal took the lead in the 65th minute when Ousama Darragi rose the highest to head home a Mahmoud Almawas corner.
Though Sadd coach Jesualdo Ferreiro brought in Salem Al Hajri, Akram Afif, and Jugurtha Hamroun they never got any sort of grip on the match.
Sadd remain on 46 points while Duhail can move to an unassailable 54 with a victory against Kharaitiyat.
Elsewhere, Wesley Sneijder scored a double and Mehdi Taremi also found the target as Al Gharafa defeated Al Sailiya 3-0 to hold the upper hand in the race for the fourth position.
Gharafa have 32 points while Umm Salal are on 31.