Al Rayyan in play-off with Esteghlal for AFC Champions League berth


Al Rayyan take on Iran’s Esteghlal in the 2020 AFC Champions League play-off on Tuesday, 28th January, for a berth in the group stage. The kick-off is at 18:15 at the Al Sadd Stadium.

Qatar’s Al Sadd and Al Duhail, the top two teams in the 2018-19 QNB Stars League, had qualified directly for the group stage of Asia’s premier club competition.

Al Sailiya and Al Rayyan, the third and fourth-placed teams, went into play-off to be eligible to make it to the tournament proper.

Esteghlal qualified to play Al Rayyan after they defeated Kuwait SC 3-0 in Dubai in the preliminary round on 25th January.

The winners of the Al Rayyan vs Esteghlal match will join Group A, which includes the UAE’s Al Wahda, Iraq’s Al Shorta and the winners of another play-off between Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli and Tajikistan’s FC Istiklol, to be played on 28th January.

Al Rayyan have had a bad run of late as they lost 1-4 to Al Sadd in the 2020 Qatar Cup semifinal and 2-4 to Al Gharafa in Week 13 of the QNB Stars League on 23rd  January.

Uruguayan Diego Aguirre-coached Al Rayyan have in their ranks players, who can make a difference, such as Algerian Yacine Brahimi, new Ivorian professional Yohan Boli, South Korean Lee Jae-Ik, Cameroonian Franck Kom, Rodrigo Tabata, Abdulaziz Hatem, Khaled Muftah and Ahmed Abdelmaksoud.