QNB Stars League Week 21 - Al Sadd 2 Al Rayyan 1
Al Sadd beat Al Rayyan 2-1 in the high-profile Qatar Clasico in Week 21 of the 2020-21 season QNB Stars League at the Al Sadd Stadium on Tuesday.
Baghdad Bounedjah (fourth minute) and Santi Cazorla (66th-minute penalty) scored for new champions Al Sadd. Yohan Boli (28th minute) gave Al Rayyan’s only reply.
Al Sadd, who had secured the title after their victory over Umm Salal in Week 18, moved to 57 points with 18 wins and three draws. The Wolves thus maintained their unbeaten streak, while Al Rayyan stayed on 34 points following their seventh defeat. Al Sadd had beaten Al Rayyan 1-0 in the first leg this season.
Living up to its top billing, the Qatar Clasico got off to a fast start and Al Sadd immediately took the lead with a brilliant goal by Bounedjah. The Algerian striker picked a nice through pass from Hashim Ali from the centre and entered the box from the left to nudge the ball past Al Rayyan keeper Fahad Younis.
Al Rayyan replied through several attacks, including a move when Boli stormed into the box, but he lost his balance after reaching keeper Meshaal Barsham, who defied another attack by The Lions in the 15th minute. Al Sadd, too, did not look satisfied with their one-goal lead and were creating opportunities for the second goal.
Naif Al Hadrami gave Al Sadd a scare with a bullet from outside the box that just sailed over the crossbar. With The Wolves trying to keep ball possession, Al Rayyan made another dangerous attack, but Shojae Khalilzadeh’s pass was a little too fast for a racing Boli.
Ivorian Boli, however, scored the equaliser the next minute, heading the ball on Barsham’s left following a corner kick.
A goal by Hassan Al Haydous in a 33rd-minute goalmouth melee following a free-kick was disallowed by referee Abdulrahman Al Jassim. Another goal by the Al Sadd captain, three minutes before half-time, was also turned down, after Bounedjah was found offside during the attack.
Al Rayyan were lucky to escape another goal before the break after Khaled Muftah made a diving save from Guilherme Torres’ dangerous strike from near the penalty area.
Al Sadd kept a slight edge in the ball possession in what was a thrilling first half.
Al Rayyan began the second session with an attack from the left, but Gabriel Mercado failed to connect a volley from a good position off a cross by Naif. Muftah created another chance setting Naif, whose strike from the left was well-blocked by Barsham in the 50th minute.
As Al Rayyan started to dominate Al Sadd, coach Xavi Hernandez made three changes before the hour-mark, bringing in Abdelkarim Hassan, Ali Asad and Nam Tae-Hee.
Bounedjah got a chance to score his second goal, but he struck the ball straight into the keeper’s hand after receiving Boualem Khoukhi’s pass inside the box.
Soon after the attack, Al Sadd earned a spot kick, with the referee punishing Franck Kom for pushing Ali Asad inside the box. Spaniard Cazorla struck the ball in comfortably on Younis’ left corner, which proved to be the winner for Al Sadd.
After Rodrigo Tabata came off the bench 15 minutes before time, replacing Al Haydous, Al Rayyan’s Abdulaziz Hatem made a good effort to take control of a high ball inside the box, but Al Sadd defenders did not give him room to unleash a shot.
Bounedjah and Tabata made failed attempts to score Al Sadd’s third goal late into the match. Al Rayyan too had their chances for an equalizer, but The Wolves managed to retain their lead to take full points from the thrilling tie.