QNB Stars League Round 6 Match Report — Al Sadd 1 Al Rayyan 2

Al Rayyan win ‘Qatar Clasico’

Al Rayyan bounced back from a goal down to beat hosts Al Sadd 2-1 in a pulsating ‘Qatar Clasico’ that lived up to its top billing in terms of both action on the field and excitement among the huge number of fans off it.

After Algerian striker Baghdad Bounedjah put Al Sadd ahead in the 12th minute, Al Rayyan scored through in-form Moroccan forward Abderrazak Hamdallah (54th) and South Korean Koh Myong-Jin (70th).

True to the high-profile status of ‘Qatar Clasico’, the match was played at a frenetic pace right from the start. Both teams were spurred on by their supporters and the ambience could not have been any better.

Hosts Al Sadd called the shots early on and danger man Baghdad was bang on target with his header, Musaab Kamal doing the spadework from the right with a cross.

Al Rayyan’s first chance came halfway through the opening half when their spearhead Hamdallah headed over the bar from Rodrigo Tabata’s free-kick. The Lions pressed hard and replaced Ahmed Mohammed with Sebastian Soria to sharpen their offence even as their goalkeeper Omar Barry and defenders were on their toes to thwart the attacks of Al Sadd, who had more of the ball.

The second session started and Al Rayyan made their intentions clear. Hamdallah’s shot was blocked by goalkeeper Saad Al Dossari. However, the Moroccan forward was not to be denied as he drew level for Al Rayyan, who attacked with more intensity and played a charging game.

Al Rayyan’s Mohammed Alaeddin then skied a rocket inches over the horizontal after he received the ball following a goalmouth melee, Hamdallah drew parity for them with an angular shot from the left. Now, Al Rayyan had an upper hand and they took the lead through Koh, who scored in a similar fashion.

Al Sadd had brought in attacking midfielder Jugurtha Hamroun, who was not his usual self during their game against Al Arabi in the previous round, and he made some desperate attempts at the goal, but in vain.

The last few moments saw some nervy action and referee Milorad Mazic had to pull out a few yellow cards. Hamroun was at it again in stoppage time, only to see his header go off the mark.

In hindsight, Al Sadd were done in by an off-colour Hassan Al Haidous and midfield maestro Xavi Hernandez, who could not do much except in the initial period. And Boualem Khoukhi’s absence through injury compounded their woes. 

Both Al Sadd and Al Rayyan are now on 15 points. Al Sadd are up against Al Ahli and Al Rayyan play Qatar SC next.