Al Sadd’s Nadir Belhadj (middle) controls the ball during the QSL match against Al Rayyan at Al Sadd Stadium in Doha yesterday. Al Sadd won 1-0.
DOHA: Al Sadd began the defence of their Qatar Stars League (QSL) title with a 1-0 derby win over Al Rayyan.
The league champions ground out a hard fought win over their rivals thanks to a stunning strike from left-back Nadir Belhadj.
Elsewhere, Lekhwiya were held to a thrilling 3-3 draw against Al Sailiyah.
It was the perfect start for Hussein Amute’s side who were desperate for the perfect start to the new season.
Despite winning the three points, Al Rayyan made Al Sadd sweat for their win as they showed encouraging signs for the campaign ahead.
Despite their best efforts, Diego Aguirre’s side simply couldn’t find a cutting edge to take something from a frustrating league opener.
Amute said: “I think we worked hard in the game. We made some mistakes in the first half but we had many opportunities to score.
“When you play against Rayyan if you make more than one or two mistakes then you will pay the price.”
After 10 minutes, Abdulkareem Al Enazi crossed for Cho Yong-Hyung, but his header cannoned off the bar with Nilmar nodding the rebound over. With 18 minutes gone Al Sadd should have taken the lead. Raul released Abdulkarim Hassan with a great sweeping ball.
The left back had plenty time but could only drag his Al Rayyan were taking control of the game, pushing Sadd deeper into their own half and right before the half hour mark they should have gone ahead.
Ten minutes before half-time Jung Soo Lee was booked for a wild lunge on Daniel Gomou.
As the break approached, Sadd looked to new signing Leandro Da Silva to try and break the deadlock, but his flicked header sailed aimlessly over the bar.
Al Sadd just four minutes to open the scoring after the break.
Nadir Belhadj gathered the ball 25 yards out and smashed an unstoppable shot past Al Rayyan keeper Omar Barry. AGENCIES