DOHA: Rodrigo Tabata scored a brace to help Al Rayyan to a convincing 4-1 win over Al Sadd in the Qatar Stars League (QSL) yesterday.
The highly anticipated match, dubbed as ‘El Clasico’ was a highly entertaining encounter in which Al Rayyan gained revenge on their defeat earlier in November.
Nilmar and Hamad Ismail scored Al Rayyan’s other two goals in an impressive performance by the Heir Apparent Cup winners.
Younes Mahmoud netted Al Sadd’s goal late in the match, in what proved to be a consolation for the home side.
In other matches in QSL yesterday, Lekhwiya and Al Gharafa drew 1-1.
Al Khor beat Eljaish 2-0, Al Arabi crushed Al Sailiyah 3-0, Al Wakra picked up maximum points against Umm Salal, courtesy of a 2-0 win, and Qatar SC won 2-0 away at Al Kharaitiayat.
In what was the match of the night, Al Sadd started the gamebrightly, putting Al Rayyan under pressure.
Coached by Hussein Amotta, Al Sadd created their first decent chance as new signing Younes Mahmoud intercepted a pass and sprinted only to waste the opportunity after a last-ditch tackle from an Al Rayyan defender.
Al Sadd continued to dominate but was punished for their missed opportunities when Tabata scored a stunning free-kick to help Al Rayyan draw first blood in the 15th minute of the match.
The Brazilian midfielder unlashed a free-kick that proved to be unstoppable for Al Sadd goalkeeper Mohaamed Saqr.
Shortly after Al Sadd striker Ibrahim Khalfan saw his effort go wide, Mahmoud was unable to keep his header on target following a cross from Nadir Belhadj.
Al Rayyan could have been 2-0 up when Nilmar broke away in the 40th minute but could not convert the chance.
Shortly before half-time, Al Sadd’s players and coaching staff were appealing for a penalty following an alleged handball in the penalty box.
However, the referee dismissed their protests which angered the Al Sadd players and fans.
Television replays had shown that the referee was correct.
Shortly after the incident, the referee blew the whistle for the half-time break, in which Al Sadd enjoyed 64 per cent of the possession as opposed to Al Rayyan’s 36.
In the second half, Nilmar had another glorious opportunity to double Al Rayyan’s lead.
Captain Al Rayyan Fabio Cesar sprinted down the left hand side and crossed a powerful low shot across the six-yard box, but the former Villarreal striker was unable to direct the ball into the net.
Amotta was not too pleased with the opportunity who showed his frustration on the sidelines.
Al Sadd created chances, in which most fell for Mahmoud but some last ditch tackles prevented the Iraqi striker on goal.
Tabata who was impressive throughout the match, deservedly grabbed his second of the match in the 67th minute.
The attacking midfielder was quickest to react following Belhadj’s clearance, and the Brazilian made no mistake in slotting the ball into the back of the net.
The goal delighted Al Rayyan coach Diego Aguirre, who said before the match that there would be no extra pressure following the 7-3 crushing win over Al Sailiyah on Sunday.
Al Sadd’s attacking abilities did not come into force, with Raul and Khalfan having a quiet match by their own standards.
The home side’s attempts to get back into the match got more difficult when Nilmar was rewarded with a goal late in the match.
Nilmar coolly chipped the ball over Saqr to give Al Rayyan a three goal cushion.
In the 90th minute, Mahmoud who was the most dangerous attacking player for Al Sadd, reduced the deficit.
However, Al Rayyan’s three goal cushion was restored when Hamed Ismael scored deep into stoppage time courtesy of a penalty.
Al Sadd’s lead at the top of the standings is now down to four points, after Lekhwiya’s draw against Al Gharafa.
Lekhwiya playing in their new stadium for the second consecutive match, took the lead through Sebastian Soria in the ninth minute.
A slick piece of skill from the Qatari striker gave space and drilled in a low shot to give the defending champions the lead.
However, Nene equalised what proved to be the last goal of the match. THE PENINSULA