Al Rayyan determined to break Al Sadd jinx
26 Oct 2017 - 0:00
By Armstrong Vas / The Peninsula
Al Rayyan coach Michael Laudrup said his team is eager to break the jinx of losing to Al Sadd when they clash in the Round 6 match of the QNB Stars League (QSL) dubbed the Qatar Clasico.
The Lions haven’t won against Al Sadd in the league for a while and the clash between the two teams always evoke a keen interest among all stakeholders. Both sides have stand-out players in all departments to make the game really electrifying on the pitch.
“Of course, it is a big game and a big date. We’re keen to take on Al Sadd mainly because we want to reverse the trend of defeats against them in recent times. We must be playing at our best, with or without the ball. There are some outstanding players on both sides and it must be nice for the players to showcase their skills and also for others to watch them in action,” said Laudrup.
“From the league standings’ point of view too, this is an important match for us. We want to finish in the top four and play in the AFC Champions League. We’ve to be really, really strong on the field. If not, players like Xavi (Hernandez), Baghdad (Bounedjah), Jugurtha Hamroun and Hassan Al Haidos will kill us. We should be creating more opportunities to score,” he added.
The Dane expressed confidence that Al Rayyan has the right arsenal which is capable of penetrating the Al Sadd defence.
“We’ve a strong squad. Even if we change three or four main players, the squad is still stronger this season. When the going is good, things are smooth in the team camp as well. We’ve already played seven games, including in the QSL Cup, and won six of them,” said the Dane.
Meanwhile, Al Gharafa coach Jean Fernandez admitted they have an uphill task when they take on leaders Al Duhail.
“We know it’s a difficult task against Al Duhail. They’re the champions and leaders with an all-win record. However, we’ll be desperate to get some points. We’re trying to put behind the disappointment of losing to Al Kharaitiyat by a big margin in the last round,” Fernandez said.
Al Duhail top the league standings with 15 points from five matches.
“We took on Al Kharaitiyat in a confident manner, having registered our first victory in this season’s league, against Al Khor. But things didn’t work our way and we ended up disappointed. We just couldn’t sustain the momentum. All that is past and we look forward to this match. We won’t get overawed by Al Duhail’s status. They’ve some dangerous players and (Youssef) El Arabi is scoring at will. It all will depend on how well we contain their attacks.”
Fernandez said his back four need to tighten the loosed ends.
“Our defence needs to improve. If you defend well, then you’ve more chances to win. We’ve many positives to draw from our games so far and we’ll try to build on them,” said the Frenchman.
Al Gharafa are sixth in the table with five points.