Al Rayyan… A plot lost in second phase
Al Rayyan were very much in the QNB Stars League title race, especially till the end of first phase of the campaign when they and Al Sadd were almost neck and neck, with the duo being close behind leaders Al Duhai.
Al Rayyan had 25 points, two less than Al Sadd and four adrift of Al Duhail, when the QNB Stars League was halfway through. The Lions had many positive results to show for their efforts, including their 2-1 first-phase Qatar Clasico victory over Al Sadd.
However, they went completely out of contention following their 0-2 defeat at the hands of Al Sadd in the second-phase Qatar Clasico in Week 16.
Nevertheless, Al Rayyan ensured that they would finish third as they already have 40 points ahead of their Week 22 match against Al Ahli.
Al Rayyan had recorded eight wins in the first phase while drawing one and losing two games. And they had scored 27 goals and conceded 17 to be on 25 points after Week 11.
However, things did not go their way once the second phase started. From 10 rounds, they could win only four games while drawing three matches and losing as many.
Al Rayyan’s total tally is 50 goals for, 38 against, 12 victories, four draws and five defeats.
The runners-up position would have guaranteed them participation in next year’s AFC Champions League as well.
A number of players excelled for Al Rayyan this season. The most prominent among them is Moroccan striker Abderrazaq Hamdallah, the third-best scorer with 18 goals after Al Duhail’s Youssef El Arabi (26) and Youssef Msakni (25).
Their playmaker Rodrigo Tabata, who grabbed the attention with outstanding performances, is also in the list with 13 goals even though his form slightly declined towards the end.
Other players who shone among the Al Rayyan ranks are right winger Mohamed Alaaeldin, defender Ahmed Abdelmaqsoud, who joined Al Rayyan from Al Duhail, goalkeeper Saoud Al Khater, who came good in some matches, and South Korean medio Koh Myong-Jin.
The team hit the headlines in the winter transfer window by roping in defender Ahmed Yasser from Spanish club Cultural Leonesa, where he was on loan from Al Duhail.
Al Rayyan also made big strides on the technical front under Danish great Michael Laudrup. In hindsight, they would have been in the title race till the end had it not been for some defensive mistakes.