Doha, 31 July 2022 - Al Sadd SC kick off their campaign to defend QNB Stars league title with a debut against Al Markhiya at the Khalifa International Stadium on Monday.
Title holders are keen to show a dazzling debut despite the absence of their Qatari internationals who are preparing for the 2022 World Cup tournament.
Despite being the worst-hit side due to absence of international footballers, Al Sad Manager Juan Manuel Lillo managed to form a good line-up of local footballers along with professionals particularly the trio Santiago Cazorla Gonzalez in the midfield and both Algerian Baghdad Bounedjah and Ghanian Andre Ayew in the front lines.
Al Markhiya, a fresh premier league returnee after four years in the second division, seek a satisfying result in a tough game against title holders. National manager Abdullah Mubarak depends on experienced Al Sadd's former player Algerian Jugurtha Hamroun, the new signing Moroccan Edris Fattouhi and Iraqi international Ayman Hussein.
Over their participation in the Qatari premier league, both sides have met in six appearances with Al Sadd winning in four in return for a 1-0 victory for Al Markhiya in their 2002 first-ever tie. The last appearance ended in a goalless draw in 2018.
The first round will also see an encounter between Umm Salal SC and Al Ahli at the Jassem bin Hamad Stadium where both side are seeking the three points.
Umm Salal, led by national coach Wisam Rezq, seek to secure their first win against al Ahly in four years since their 4-1 last victory in 2018.
Um Salal made new signings including Ivorian striker Jonathan Kodjia, Portuguese Joao Teixeira, Dutch-Moroccan Idris Seddiqi, Moroccan Abdullah Al Khufaifi, Uzbek Sardor Rashidov who replaced the injured Jordanian Yassine Al Bekhit.
Al Ahli kept Montenegrin manager Nebojsa Jovovic for a second season and made new signings including Algerian Sofiane Hanni from Al Gharafa, Iranian international defender Shojae Khalilzadeh from Al Rayyan, Montenegrin Nikola Vukcevic along with Iranian Hossein Kanaani and Jordanian Yazan Al Nueimat.
Al Ahli, who finished seventh in the previous season, seek to advance on the league table depending on their technical constancy under the Montenegrin coach.
Both sides have met in 27 appearances with Umm Salal winning in 10 and nine victories for Al Ahly while eight games ended in draw, with Umm Salal scoring 41 goals and Al Ahly netting only 32 in the all encounters.
On Tuesday, the initial round resumes with a game between Al Arabi and Qatar at the Educational City Stadium, an encounter expected to be highly impressive.
National Coach Yunis Ali's men seek the resumption of success after finishing fourth in the last season relying on effective cards including Tunisian international Youssef Msakni, Gabonese forward Aron Boinza, veteran Aron Einar Malmquist Gunnarsson and goalie Jassem Al Hail coming from Qatar SC.
Qatar SC seek a result that satisfies their fans' ambitions after finishing ninth in last season, with Moroccan manager Youssef Sefri trying to prepare substitutes with the club not finishing its professional signings as well as the absence of Spanish defender Javier Martinez due to injury.
Qatar SC have signed Ibrahim Majed and Talal Munir in tandem with goal keeper Sateh Al Abbasi coming from Al Arabi SC in addition to other expected signings before the summer window transfer closes.
Both sides have met in 57 appearances with Al Arabi winning in 23 against 15 victories for Qatar, while they drew in 19 encounters.
On Monday, Al Gharafa plays with Al-Sailiya SC at Khalifa International Stadium Al Gharafa enter the game under the leadership of Italian Coach Andrea Stramaccioni who leads the team for the second successive season and ended fifth in the last edition.
Al Gharafa seek to show a better performance this season after signing Algerian Yassine Berahimi along with keeping his compatriot Mehdi Tahrat and Brazilian Gabriel Peres and signing Uzbec defender Islom Tukhtahujaev, having one remaining seat for a professional before closing the transfer window.
Al-Sailiya managed to secure a premier league spot in last season, and Tunisian Coach Sami Al Trabilsi who leads the team for the second successive season knows that this season seems harder.
Al-Sailiya signed Tunisian Belal Saadani as an Arab player, Iraqi Muhanad Ali as n Asian player along with Greek Fitfa, Argentinian Serjeo and Swedish Charlos.
Both sides have met in 35 encounters, with Al Gharafa clinching victory in 20 against 11 wins for Al-Sailiya and four draws.