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Nov 26 - Dec 8, 2019
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Al Rayyan inflict shock defeat on Al Sadd

Former champions Al Rayyan find their hero for the day in Yasmin Brahimi.
Al Rayyan's Yacine Brahimi (right) Celebrates With Team Mates. Rayyan Defeated Al Sadd 4 2. Photo Qsl Media
Al Rayyan’s Yacine Brahimi (right) celebrates with team-mates. Rayyan defeated Al Sadd 4-2. Photo: QSL Media

Al Sadd crashed to their first defeat of the Qatar Stars League season on Saturday, with Al Rayyan inflicting a 4-2 hammering on the defending champions at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium.

Sadd seem to be struggling to balance their continental commitments and the league engagements and their mistakes were severely punished by Al Rayyan.

Xavi Hernandez’s men have been the one to now conceded eight goals in two matches, including four in the AFC Champions League semifinal first leg against Al Hilal, highlighting their defensive woes.

Sadd had won all their matches till this day, but the defeat is a dent on Xavi’s ambitions as the teams go into a two-week international break. Sadd, with 12 points, are third on the table, behind Duhail Sports Club (14) and Al Arabi (13). Both Sadd and Arabi have a game on hand.

Rayyan gave their campaign a big boost with the win, both in terms of confidence and momentum. They also have 12 points but placed fourth on goal difference.

Rayyan played with plenty of heart to exploit Sadd’s weaknesses. Gabriel Mercado gave them the lead in the 25th minute but Nam Tae-Hee brought the scores level three minutes later.

Yacine Brahimi, playing an excellent match, then set up Rayyan’s second goal two minutes from half-time, firing a hard shot at the Sadd goal. Saad Al Sheeb could only block the shot and Rodrigo Tabata pounced to make it 2-1.

Nine minutes into the second, Baghdad Bounedjah headed in a Hamid Ismaeil cross to bring Sadd level again. But a blunder by Al Sheeb then proved decisive. Brahimi again did the spadework, finding Abdulaziz Hatem in the middle with a precise cross in the 59th minute.

Hatem drilled a shot goalward and Al Sheeb let it slip into the goal off his hands, perhaps a bit unsighted by defenders in front of him.

Brahimi then shut off all escape routes for Sadd, a defensive error again opening the route for the Al Rayyan player. Andres Quintana won the ball from Ismaeil in the midfield and put Brahimi in possession. He dribbled up nicely and warded off Tarik Salman to slot home the fourth Rayyan goal.

The 70th-minute strike broke Sadd’s resolve and the champions will have a lot of soul-searching to do to regroup and comeback after the break.

In the second match of the night, Al Ahli defeated Qatar Sports Club 2-0 at the Al Ahli Stadium.

After a goalless first half, Abel Hernandez in the 63rdminute opened the scoring for Al Ahli. They then added the second in the final minute through Abdeirahman Moustafa.

It was Qatar SC’s fifth defeat in six matches. Al Ahli posted their third win and are sixth with nine points.