Ferreira, Rodolfo in stern test of tactics
The battle lines have been drawn for the Qatar Clasico between Al Sadd and Al Rayyan. The high-profile game is a grand fiesta on and off the pitch.
Qatar Clasico will also be noted for the technical confrontation between the two team coaches — Jesualdo Ferreira of Al Sadd and Rodolfo Arruabarrena of Al Rayyan.
Much-experienced Ferreira, who took charge of The Wolves in November, 2015, has brought them much success. The Portuguese is like a father and philosopher to the players, and has succeeded in making many youngsters come through the ranks.
And there has been a remarkable technical improvement in Al Sadd’s game under him.
The 72-year-old is a result-oriented master tactician. He has been in the profession since 1981 and coached teams in Spain, Greece and Egypt besides his native Portugal.
His most successful period was when he guided native side Porto to three consecutive league titles between 2006 and 2009.
Ferreira has just guided Al Sadd to the AFC Champions League semifinal, defeating Iran’s Esteghlal 5-3 on aggregate.
By contrast, Arruabarrena, who succeeded Danish great Michael Laudrup at Al Rayyan ahead of the 2018-19 season, is a coach of the younger generation.
He started off his Qatar stint in great style by guiding The Lions to the Sheikh Jassim Cup triumph over Al Duhail on 1st August. Al Rayyan won 5-3 on penalties after the teams were tied 1-1 in regular time.
Arruabarrena is a former Argentinian national team left-back who had long professional stints with top Argentinian club Boca Juniors and Spain’s Villarreal.
He started his coaching career in 2011 and has experience in the Gulf region, having trained Al Wasl in Dubai.
The credit for making the Al Rayyan defence stingy goes to the 43-year-old. They have conceded just two goals, the same as Al Sadd and Al Duhail, and that is the least number of goals conceded so far in this season’s QNB Stars League.
Both coaches have high credentials and it has to be seen who will have the last laugh this time?