Al Rayyan look to maintain momentum in big clash
Diego Aguirre’s men take on Al Arabi, looking to continue their winning run.
Al Rayyan will look to build on their momentum when they take on Al Arabi in a vital eighth-round clash of the Qatar Stars League on Friday.
Two low-key affairs – Al Wakrah vs Al Khor and Umm Salal vs Qatar SC – will get the eighth-round action off to a start on Thursday before the big games on Friday and Saturday.
Rayyan against Arabi brings the most passionate group of fans to the stadium every year, and it will not be different this time too, especially with the teams in good form.
Rayyan are second on the table and are yet to lose a game this season. After starting with three draws, they have won four matches in a row. Arabi too were on an unbeaten streak before they suffered a reverse against Al Gharafa in the previous round.
There is plenty at stake for both teams and as such, an exciting game is in prospect at the Al Arabi Stadium. It will be the second game on Friday, with the first, featuring Al Shahania and Al Sailiya, scheduled at Al Ahli Stadium.
“It’s an important game not just for the team, but also for the fans,” said Rayyan coach Diego Aguirre.
“Our team is on a high thanks to good results at the start of the season. We’ve to play in the same way to win against Arabi,” he added.
Yacine Brahimi and Rodrigo Tabata have been the forces behind Rayyan’s good show this season and their presence gives an advantage to the Lions.
Arabi, on the other hand, suffered due to the absence of injured Aaron Gunnarson in the game against Al Gharafa. Their coach Heimir Hallgrimsson will be hoping his players would raise their level in the big game.
Arabi are fourth with 13 points, but with a game against Al Sadd on hand.
After their exit from the AFC Champions League, Sadd will return to action with a game against Al Ahli on Saturday. The fight they showed in Riyadh will have boosted their confidence, but it remains to be seen whether they will be physically ready for the match at the Al Ahli Stadium.
Also on Saturday, Duhail, the league leaders after eight rounds, have a tough game lined up, against Al Gharafa. Duhail, like Rayyan, are also unbeaten but that record will come under severe test from Gharafa.
“We’re facing one of the strongest teams in Qatar. Along with Al Sadd, Duhail have dominated the scene but we’ll go into the match targeting three points,” said Gharafa coach Slavisa Jokanovic.