Will Bulent surprise Laudrup? That’s the question
When Al Gharafa and Al Rayyan clash against each other in Week 19 of the QNB Stars League on Thursday, 1st March, the sub plot will be the encounter between the coaches.
Both coaches Michael Laudrup (Al Rayyan) and Bulent Uygun (Al Gharafa) have proved their worth in the profession.
They have another thing in common. They both were great players even though Laudrup has had much more credentials as a forward having donned the jerseys of Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona. The Dane had also represented top Italian side Juventus and Dutch stalwarts Ajax Amsterdam besides playing for the Denmark national team umpteen times.
As a coach, Laudrup created waves in South Wales when he won the League Cup, the first major English trophy in Swansea's 100-year history.
Bulent too had made it big at the club and country levels as an attacking midfielder. He had captained Fenerbahce, where he spent most of his club career, apart from playing for the Turkey national team 18 times.
They both had prior experience coaching in Qatar. Laudrup was at the helm of erstwhile Lekhwiya, while Bulent was in charge of Umm Salal.
Laudrup has been doing well with Al Rayyan as well. The Lions are third with 39 points. They have 12 victories under their belt. They have drawn three matches and lost as many.
And both Laudrup and Bulent are extra busy with their AFC Champions League engagements too.
Under, Laudrup Al Rayyan have become a more offensive side. They have so far scored 46 goals, the third best in the QNB Stars League after Al Duhail (68) and Al Sadd (55).
Bulent replaced Frenchman Jean Fernandez before the start of QNB Stars League second phase and The Cheetahs have been making steady strides ever since. They are sixth with 23 points.
The Turk will also be looking to make up for their shock defeat to Al Markhiya last week, whereas Laudrup will be keen to ensure his wards stay motivated with yet another victory.