Al Rayyan go down fighting in AFC Champions League


Qatar’s Al Rayyan went down fighting to the UAE’s Al Wahda 1-2 through an added-time goal from Leonardo in their 2019 AFC Champions League Group B match on Tuesday.

The two sides went into the fixture level on three points, with goal difference favouring Al Wahda.

Al Rayyan looked to pump crosses into the box for Gelmin Rivas throughout the first half, with the Venezuelan striker seeing his header saved by goalkeeper Mohammed Al Shamsi at the 15-minute mark.

Rivas was again at the receiving end of a Mohammed Juma cross six minutes later, but he failed to direct his header goalwards.

Korean defender Rim Chang-Woo responded with a headed effort for Al Wahda, but his ball sailed over the crossbar, before Rivas again missed a header from a Rodrigo Tabata cross.

A last-ditch tackle from Mohammed Alaeldin denied the UAE side a certain scoring opportunity before the half-time break. The Qatar defender snatched the ball from underneath the feet of Leonardo as the Brazilian was set to pull the plug following a quick counter-attack. 

The match burst into life in the second half as Rivas finally got his goal for Al Rayyan. The striker evaded his marker to get on the end of Lucca Borges’ cross from the right wing and slip home the opener eight minutes after the restart.

Al Wahda restored parity in the 67th minute through Sebastian Tagliabue. Playmaker Ismail Matar supplied a superb through pass for the Argentinian who latched onto the ball and applied a composed finish past goalkeeper Fahad Younis.

There was to be late heartbreak for the local supporters as defender Moosa Haroon was penalised for pulling down Leonardo inside the box in added time.

The Brazilian stepped up to take the spot-kick himself and drove home the Emirati side’s second win of the campaign.

Al Wahda will go into the reverse fixture at home in two weeks’ time boosted by the away win and six points in their tally, while another defeat in Abu Dhabi could complicate Al Rayyan’s situation in the race for qualification to the Round of 16.