Kuala Lumpur: After a look at the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, we turn to Qatar’s major domestic derbies.
The Qatar Stars League (QSL) was incepted in the early sixties of the past century, and with time some rivalries were born and grew to become a focus point for fans.
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Al Sadd v Al Rayyan
This is the derby that pits two of the country’s most successful clubs together. Al Sadd are 14-time QSL champions while Al Rayyan have won the title eight times.
Al Saad have dominated recent meetings between the two but Al Rayyan broke a run of six games of league and domestic cup matches in which they failed to beat Al Sadd in regular or extra time, by doing the double in the 2019-20 season.
Al Sadd had done the league double over their rivals in the 2018/2019 season scoring nine goals and conceding none - the best season record for one of them against the other - with lethal striker Baghdad Bounedjah and 2019 Asian Football of the Year Akram Afif scoring three each, while Abdulkarim Hassan chipped in with two and Jung Woo-young scoring once.
Their most recent meeting in the QSL ended 1-0 in favour of league leaders Al Sadd, with Bounedjah scoring the winner.
Al Arabi v Al Rayyan
This is one of the more historically fueled derbies between two clubs that have enjoyed intermittent yet overlapping spells of success in the past. Both clubs dominated Qatari football throughout the eighties until the mid-nineties.
Al Arabi’s fortunes have dipped though - their last piece of silverware came in 2011 and their last league title was won in 1997. In contrast, Al Rayyan last won the title in 2016.
There have been some fiery encounters in recent years though, with the two clubs playing out an emphatic 4-4 draw back in 2013, when Abdullah Al Oraimi headed in the keeper’s rebound to equalise for Al Arabi deep into injury time.
Al Sadd v Al Duhail
This is a derby that’s more recent in nature -pitting Al Sadd against one of the powers that has risen in Qatari football during the past decade.
Previously ‘Lekhwiya SC’ and later rebranded as Al Duhail following a takeover of Al Jaish SC, the club has won seven league titles since 2011.
Al Sadd, the 2011 AFC Champions League winners have scored the double over reigning QSL champions Al Duhail this season, winning both ties 3-1.
The two clubs have met twice in the AFC Champions League - once before Al Duhail rebranded and once after. Both ties were in the Round of 16.
In 2015, Lekhwiya made it past their rivals with a 2-1 away win and a 2-2 home draw, sealing their passage to the quarter final in which they eventually lost to Al Hilal SFC.
In 2019, Al Sadd paid their dues to their opponents Al Duhail by drawing 1-1 away and sealing the deal at home with a 3-1 win on their way to a semi-final showing that ended with a spirited fightback away to Al Hilal which they eventually lost.
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