Al Rayyan Vs Qatar SC — Friday, 3rd November, 2017 @ 17:15, Al Sadd Stadium

Will Kings tame Lions? That’s the question

Will low-lying Qatar SC pull off a stunner against high-flying Al Rayyan? That is the question doing the rounds in the country’s football fraternity.

Both teams go into the QNB Stars League’s Round 7 Match of the Week at the Al Sadd Stadium against opposite backdrop. The 2-1 ‘Qatar Clasico’ victory against Al Sadd has tremendously boosted Al Rayyan’s morale. And they have reasons to be. The players are a cohesive unit, coach Michael Laudrup is too happy with the atmosphere in the team camp and they are putting up consistent performances to be third in the standings, behind Al Duhail and Al Sadd.

The Lions have 15 points, the same as Al Sadd who have better goal difference. Al Rayyan will be keen on extending their winning run and keeping pace with Al Duhail and Al Sadd. They have lost only to Al Duhail in this season’s league and look one of the title contenders.

Laudrup already eyes that and they are also keen to play in the AFC Champions League. Having finished third last season and lost to Al Sadd in the Emir’s Cup final, they have to reach the continental competition through two play-offs, to be played in January.

On the other hand, Qatar SC will be expecting a miracle to happen as they have just one victory so far to show for their efforts. They do not have much to cheer about as that came against freshers Al Markhiya. And the team’s morale is at the lowest ebb having had to play in the second division last season and now lying at rock bottom in the top flight.

The Kings, who crashed 1-5 to Al Sailiya in the last round, have a much-experienced coach in Argentinian Gabriel Calderon, whose job may be on the line. So his players must punch well above their weight. They will surely have a tough time in handling Al Rayyan’s Abderrazak Hamdallah, Rodrigo Tabata and Sebastian Soria.

The most worrying factor for Qatar SC is that they have scored just six goals thus far and conceded 16. Other than, Michael Babatunde, their forwards have yet to find their touch.

The match brings to the fore a touch of history too. Both are big names in Qatar’s club football scene and have contributed many players of repute to the country’s various national teams. Qatar SC and Al Rayyan (eight each) have won the most number of league titles, behind only Al Sadd (13). Al Gharafa and Al Arabi come only after them with seven each.