Sunday, September 13, 2015

Qatar Football

So this weekend I attended two Qatar Stars League (QSL) matches as part of trying to follow the local league. My team (Al Sadd) wasn’t playing so I checked out some of the other teams.

First it was Ar-Rayyan vs Al Saliya. This match took place at Jassim bin Hamad Stadium (also known as Al Sadd Stadium). This is the home pitch for Al Sadd yet they weren’t playing, which was a bit odd. Maybe there’s construction at one of the other stadiums so it is shut temporarily? I’m guessing there is a lot of construction in the area around Ar-Rayyan stadium so it’s probably that one.

The turnout wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, I’m guessing maybe 800-1000 Rayyan fans, and about 100 Saliya. The VIP/family section had another 200 or so. Both the Rayyan and Saliya fans had drums and were chanting so it was a pleasant atmosphere, and the rain from earlier did cool things off a little so it wasn’t bad sitting in the stadium.

Things went rough for Al Saliya, who had a couple of chances but by half-time were down 2-0 and then had a man red-carded.
Half-time entertainment was traditional sword dancing.

Saliya put up a decent battle though they were a man down but in the end it was a 4-0 beatdown. Most of the crowd was happy.

The next night was a match between Al-Arabi and Al-Wakrah at the Grand Hamad Stadium (the Al-Arabi stadium near Rawdat Al Khail intersection). I arrived too early but it gave me time to check out the 9-ball World Championships, which were also being at an indoor hall at the stadium.

The night was humid and a bit uncomfortable for sitting around outside. Maybe that affected the turnout, there was maybe 200 Al-Arabi supporters and as for Al-Wakrah it was, um, sparse. Their section for fans is on the left of this picture, where the blue flags are, and I think there was maybe 15 people. It’s pretty rough when your team outnumbers the fans. The VIP/family area had around 100, almost all were Al-Arabi fans.

The Ref seemed a bit touchy as there were a lot of yellow cards being given out. Al-Arabi scored a really good goal and after that it was a lot of back and forth and close-calls. Because of the humidity I missed the half-time show as I went into the air conditioning to get a drink. Al-Arabi had a man sent off part way through the second half but they managed to hold off Al Wakrah. In the end Al-Arabi’s goal held and the score was 1-0.

Given that tickets are, depending on where you want to sit, 10, 20 or 50 riyal I can’t fault the ticket price, it’s a pretty good deal.

I’ll keep attending matches and I’ve now made it my quest to attend at least one game in each stadium this season, which will mean going to matches in places like Al-Khor and probably Al-Ruwais.

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