Al Gharafa vs Al Rayyan — 1st March, 2018 @ 20:10, Al Gharafa Stadium
Sparks are bound to fly when Al Gharafa host Al Rayyan in Week 19 of the QNB Stars League on Thursday, 1st March. The kick-off is at 20:10 at the Al Gharafa Stadium.
Al Rayyan are third with 39 points and Al Gharafa fifth on 26 points.
They go into the match against contrasting backdrop. While Al Rayyan had it easy against Qatar SC, winning 4-0, Al Gharafa suffered a shock 2-3 defeat at the hands of bottom side Al Markhiya.
However, the Qatar Football Association on Wednesday overturned the result and awarded The Cheetahs a 3-0 verdict as The Oryxes had breached the rule regarding resident players by fielding six instead of the stipulated five.
Al Rayyan, coached by Danish great Michael Laudrup, thus made up for their two-game winless run that saw them drop points and go out of title contention.
The Lions will be delighted that their top scorer Abderrazaq Hamdallah is back among goals. The Moroccan striker had struck a brace in their win to take his tally to 15 goals.
Al Rayyan also have Rodrigo Tabata (12 goals) and Sebastian Soria (10 goals) in the list of top scorers.
Al Gharafa have been in great form ever since the QNB Stars League second phase started. New recruits, Dutch star Wesley Sneijder and Iranian striker Mehdi Taremi soon settled into their stride.
And Turkish coach Bulent Uygun, who replaced Frenchman Jean Fernandez, has given The Cheetahs many positive results.
Al Gharafa too have a strong squad with the likes of Diego Amado, Ahmed Alaaeldin and Othman Al Yahri.
However, they will miss defender Almahdi Ali who is out of action nursing an injury.
In terms of the number of victories, there is a huge difference between the teams as Al Rayyan have 12 as against Al Gharafa’s seven.
Al Rayyan have lost only thrice, but Al Gharafa tasted defeats six times.
Meanwhile, both sides started their campaign in the AFC Champions League. While Al Rayyan drew both their matches, Al Gharafa emerged as victorious in one game and lost the other.
Al Rayyan had defeated Al Gharafa 3-2 in the first phase.