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Doha: Qatar Stars League (QSL) champions Lekhwiya will take on Eljaish while third-placed Al Rayyan will face Umm Salal when QSL action resumes here today.
Action in the 12-team league had a one month break owing to Qatar national team engagements in the Gulf Cup.
Going into the break, QSL leaders Al Sadd had 31 points from 12 matches while Lekhwiya had 25 points from same number of matches.
But Lekhwiya coach Eric Gerets is keen to narrow the gap at the top. And, he knows the match against Eljaish is a crucial one.
“We have a hard game against Eljaish. They were the surprise (team) for the last year getting to the Champions League. They have a strong team and always play 4-4-2, so it’s not going to be an easy game for us but we will try to make it difficult for them also,” said Gerets, during the pre-match press conference here yesterday.
Gerets who took charge midway to the league said his team will seek revenge for the first leg loss.
“In the first match we lost but I wasn’t here at that point. We have to prove right now we are better to reach the top. It’s different, this league, from last year. It is stronger.”
In the first leg Eljaish defeated Lekwiya 1-0.
The former PSV Eindhoven coached expressed confidence that his club can still win the league title.
“We have a hope of winning the league. We have strong players who have a lot of desire. With this desire I hope we can reach better points and get to the top,” the Belgian said.
“As you know, Lekhwiya were the champions last year, so this means there is a lot of pressure on the players and the club.
“For now Al Sadd deserve the position they are in. We will not concentrate on Al Sadd (right now), however, we will concentrate game by game. We just want to be closer to Al Sadd.”
Eljaish’s Romanian coach Razvan Lucescu said win against Lekhwiya in the first leg of QSL will not count much in today’s match.
“The last game (first leg) against Lekhwiya it’s gone inthe record books. This is another game so we have to be prepared. Maybe that victory would give us some confidence but in any case, this game will be totally different,” said Lucescu, while speaking to reporters.
The former goalkeeper said it will be a tough game.
“Lekhwiya have been champions for the last two years. They are a team who like to control the game. I also think this kind of games bring out the best in players,” he added.
In the third match today, bottom sitters Al Sailiya take on Al Wakra. QSL leaders Al Sadd will not be seen in action today but will take on Qatar SC tomorrow.