DOHA: Al Gharafa will be aiming to register their first victory of the Qatar Stars League (QSL) season when the former champions visit Al Rayyan tomorrow in the fifth round of the campaign.
Billed as pre-season favourites, both sides have faltered in the first four matches of the season, with Al Gharafa, whose former coach Bruno Metsu died earlier this week of cancer, still undefeated with four points.
Sheikh Jassim Cup and Emir Cup winners Al Rayyan have just won once so far this season - a crushing 4-0 victory over Al Khor in week three.
Al Rayyan coach Diego Aguirre is optimistic his team can end their poor form.
He said: “For sure we have not had the best start to the season but we keep preparing as hard as we can. We played very poorly against Sailiya and it’s a result we were not happy with.”
He added: “We continue to work hard though because I believe we have the players here who are good enough. We have targets for the season and we will keep working to meet these goals.”
His opposite number Zico admits his team must improve their finishing in front of goal, after seeing his side dominate against Qatar SC in the 1-1 draw in their last match.
He said: “We were clearly the better side against Qatar SC. We dominated the exchanges from early in the game but failed to take advantage of a lot of the chances we created.”
The Brazilian, who won the Asian Cup title in 2004 with Japan, added: “We have to work on our finishing in front of goal. We deserved our first win against Qatar SC but we will keep working hard to secure it.”
Before that clash, four matches take place today as QSL points leaders Al Wakra eyes a surge in the title race when they take on Eljaish.
Al Wakra have a tally of 10 points from four matches with three wins so far in this year’s campaign.
Eljaish, on the other hand, will also seek a win to add to their impressive tally of 8 points from four matches.
In another match today, second-placed Al Sailiyah take on Al Kharaitiyat while former two-time champions Lekhwiya will aim to get back to winning ways with a match against Muaither at home.
Al Ahli have a date with Umm Salal which completes today’s fixtures programme.
The fifth round will continue tomorrow with defending champions Al Sadd playing Qatar SC who are in third spot on the points table.
Also tomorrow, Al Arabi face a home match against Al Khor. THE PENINSULA