QNB Stars League Week 8 - Al Arabi 1 Al Rayyan 2
Al Rayyan defeated Al Arabi 2-1 in a humdinger of a game played in front of a near-capacity crowd in Week 8 of the 2019-20 QNB Stars League at the Al Arabi Stadium on Friday.
Yacine Brahimi (42nd) and Gabriel Mercado (75th minute) scored for Al Rayyan.
Hamdi Harbaoui had given Al Arabi the lead in the 40th minute.
Al Rayyan now have 18 points and Al Arabi remained on 13. The Lions thus extended their unbeaten run, with Al Duhail being the only other undefeated side in the 12-team tournament.
Fans, in large numbers, were still filing in when the match kicked off. Spectators, who finally totalled 10,172, roared in excitement as the action on the field hotted up right from the word go.
No wonder, the game was fought between two teams with the most passionate, spirited and loyal fans in Qatar football.
Al Rayyan had an upper hand initially in the fast-paced game. Al Arabi gradually came into the match by offering a stiff resistance in front of home fans.
And much to their delight, Al Arabi took the lead when Hamdi found the mark after Pierre-Michel Lassoga set him up with a dipping header off a corner kick by Marc Muniesa Martinez.
Captain Rodrigo Tabata and Brahimi led Al Rayyan’s attacks, while Al Arabi’s Harbaoui and Lassoga mostly attacked the other end.
Tabata almost doubled Al Rayyan’s lead close to the half-time whistle when he sent a cracking left-footer against the crosspiece. During the half, he also had a free-kick that hit the post.
Al Arabi too had their share of chances, with Birkir Bjarnason’s header being saved by Al Rayyan goalkeeper Fahd Younis. And Lassoga had a shot deflected out.
Al Arabi came off the breather with renewed vigour. The Al Rayyan goal had a close call in the 52nd minute when youngster Yousef Abdulrazaq was on the go. And Lassoga sent a screamer wide the next minute.
At the other end, Al Rayyan too attacked and they succeeded in scoring a second time as Mercado was on hand to hit home the rebound after Sebastian Soria attempted to score from a Tabata corner kick.
Al Arabi fought hard for an equaliser. However, Birkir narrowly missed the mark just before Lassoga’s header was saved by Fahd in the last minute of regular time, signalling a famous victory for Al Rayyan.