Al Sadd Triumphs in Friendly, Faces Al Wakrah in Expo Stars League Resumption

In Doha, Al Sadd secured a 3-2 victory over Muaither in a friendly, intensifying preparations for the Expo Stars League (ESL), resumption after a two-month hiatus. The qatari top flight, formerly known as Qatar Stars League, paused on December 21, coinciding with the AFC Asian Cup hosted by Qatar, which the home team clinched by defeating Jordan on February 10.

Al Sadd, currently leading with 31 points from 10 wins and a draw, readies for their ESL return against second-placed Al Wakrah on Sunday. Algerian striker Baghdad Bounedjah marked his return with a goal in the friendly against Muaither.

While Al Sadd focused on limited friendlies, Al Wakrah utilized the break, engaging in five friendlies against various opponents, including Dynamo Moscow and Slovakia’s Bratislava.

Al Wakrah strengthened their squad with three signings during the transfer window, adding Dutchman Adam Maher, Abdulaziz Metwaly, and Khaled Ali.

Gharafa, in third place with 27 points, played six friendlies, including a loss to Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal. They will face Al Ahli in their ESL return.

Al Rayyan, in fourth place with 26 points, engaged in six friendlies, losing 2-3 to Qatar SC. They will confront Al Shamal in their ESL comeback on Sunday.

Al Arabi, occupying fifth place with 17 points, played three friendlies, while Al Duhail, tied with them on points, participated in the Equality Cup in Doha during the break. The two teams will clash on Sunday at Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium.

Umm Salal and Qatar SC, resuming the league, will kickstart Saturday’s fixtures at Suhaim Bin Hamad Stadium. Al Shamal faces Al Rayyan, and defending champions Al Duhail meet Amir Cup winners Al Arabi on Sunday. The standings reveal Al Wakrah and Al Gharafa tied on 27 points each, with Al Duhail and Al Arabi closely trailing.

Umm Salal occupies sixth place with 15 points, while Qatar SC and Al Ahli share 12 points each. Al Shamal stands at 10th with 11 points, Muaither at 11th with six points, and Al Markhiya at the bottom with four points. The ESL’s resumption promises a competitive race for the top spot.

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