Al Rayyan players celebrate one of their nine goals against Qatar Sports Club on Sunday. Rayyan have 27 points from nine matches for a 100% win record. PICTURE: Noushad Thekkayil

 

By Sports Reporter/Doha


Sparks are expected to fly when table-toppers Al Rayyan take on second-placed El Jaish in the Qatar Stars League today.
Both teams have been in sparkling form this season, with Al Rayyan coming off a 9-0 demolition of Qatar Sports Club and El Jaish recording an impressive 4-0 win over Al Arabi last week.
Al Rayyan have 27 points from nine matches for a 100% win record, while El Jaish are close behind on 24, their card blemished by two draws. Al Rayyan forward  Rodrigo Tabata scored four goals against Qatar Sports Club, while Sergio Garcia, Sebastian Soria and Victor Caceras have also made significant contributions to the team whose nine-match winning streak could be put to the test against Jaish who will be targeting their seventh straight win.
“We know we have a very tough game against Jaish. We respect them a lot but just like the other teams we have faced this season. We have the same confidence if not more. With each match, my players are showing that we can trust in them 100 per cent. Jaish are a very good team and we respect them but as always we have big confidence in our potential,” said Al Rayyan coach Jorge Fossati.
“This is a competition between many clubs and all of them want to win the title. Rayyan is currently the leader of the competition and we can imagine that not only the fans of El Jaish but other teams also want us to lose. But I think that even if fans of all the teams are put on one side, they will still not be able to be stronger than our fans. We are one big family - the fans, the management and especially the players.”
Fossati, who has coached the Qatar national side and Al Sadd in the past, has been credited with Al Rayyan’s revival after they bounced back into the QSL by winning the second division title, but the Uruguayan credited team work for his success so far.
 “There are many people who are not necessarily supporters of Rayyan but are happy with the performance of Rayyan and what this club has contributed to the league this season.
“My point of view is very simple. The football pitch has two posts. You must attack one and defend the other. The team that controls both these aspects in the best possible way will get the victory or get close to it. So I am constantly looking for a combination that can give the best balance for the team.”
 El Jaish had two draws early on in the season but have since shifted gears and won all their games in great style.
They will be also boosted by the return of their main striker Abderrazak Hamdallah who missed two matches due to injury. The Moroccan had scored eight goals in seven matches and Jaish will need his prowess in front of goal. Sardor Rashidov is another player who has performed well for Jaish, having scored seven goals so far.
“We will play the best team in the league this season. They have a perfect record so far. All teams have tried to stop them and have failed. We will look to take three points from this game which is our target against Rayyan or any other team,” El Jaish coach Sabri Lamouchi said.
“This year many teams are playing with three defenders - Mesaimeer, Al Arabi and even Rayyan. But we have to play our style of football and show our personality. We know Rayyan are the best team in Qatar and it will be very difficult for us. We must play with determination and concentration. If we give them a chance to score, they will do so. It won’t be like the last game. Rayyan players have the confidence and players give more when they are confident. So we are expecting a tough match. “A lot of people are surprised to see us at this position. But we believe in our abilities. It’s an important game to win but we won’t get more than three points. The result will affect the gap between Rayyan and the other teams. But it’s not the end of the League.”