QNB Stars League Week 5 — Al Arabi 0 Al Rayyan 1


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Al Rayyan beat off the challenge from hosts Al Arabi 1-0 in Week 5 of the QNB Stars League on Friday.

As expected, both teams fought it out at the Al Arabi Stadium in a game more noted for fan rivalry as these sides have the largest fan base in Qatar.

Mohammed Juma netted the all-important goal in the 37th minute.

Al Rayyan took their points tally to 11, whereas Al Arabi stood at nine.

The Lions went top of the QNB Stars League standings and will stay there temporarily as the matches of Al Sadd and Al Duhail, who have 10 points each, have been postponed in view of their AFC Champions League quarterfinal second-leg matches on Monday against Iranian sides Esteghlal and Persepolis respectively.

Al Sadd and Al Duhail were to play Al Khor and Al Duhail respectively on Sunday.

Al Arabi were coming off two consecutive wins, but could not extend their winning run on home turf.

However, Luka Bonacic’s men can take solace from the fact that they gave a tough fight to Al Rayyan.

Al Rayyan dominated the first half with 66 per cent possession during which they were rewarded with the winning goal. The percentage fell to 56 on completion of the game as Al Arabi showed more alacrity in the second session.

The goal came as a result of a long lob into the Al Arabi box. After the ball hit the crossbar over the head of goalkeeper Masoud Zarayi following Al Arabi’s Mudir Abdurabu’s faulty clearance, Mohammed Juma was on hand to head home the rebound.

Mohammed Juma had a good game even as Rodrigo Tabata and Sebastian Soria were rather off-colour. Zarayi too was good below the bar, but for the goal that turned out to be crucial.

Al Arabi’s attacks lacked teeth overall. The likes of Franco Hurtado, Diego Jardel and Mailson de Farias could not make inroads into the rival area. The Dream Team had a goal ruled offside in the 87th minute when Mohammed El Neel found the mark off a pass from Mailson.

Al Rayyan’s Argentinian striker Jonathan Menendez, who joined them from Independiente, made his QNB Stars League debut when he replaced Khalfan Ibrahim after one hour.