In-form Arabi look to halt Rayyan run
February 20 2016 12:41 AM
Gianfranco Zola

By Sports Reporter/Doha

Football fans across Qatar are looking forward to today’s big game between runaway QSL leaders Al Rayyan and top four contenders Al Arabi. The Lions are within touching distance of claiming their first Falcon Shield since 1995, while the Dream Team are aiming to cement their position in the Qatar Cup places.
Rayyan have lost just once all season, while Arabi go into the game on the back of impressive wins against Al Gharafa and Lekhwiya. Rayyan have blazed an incredible trail this season after winning promotion from the Qatar Gas League.
Jorge Fossati’s men are currently 15 points clear at the top after winning 17 of their 18 matches so far. They will have to do without inspirational captain Rodrigo Tabata against Arabi though, after he suffered a hamstring injury during the 1-0 victory over Al Khor.
Spanish striker Sergio Garcia will also be missing, meaning Sebastian Soria will be the main focal point of the Lions’ attack. The task of defeating Rayyan is a tough one for Arabi to face. However, Gianfranco Zola’s men are in good form themselves and will feel confident of taking all three points. New signing Alan Souza has made a big difference for Arabi in recent matches, while the experienced Paulinho and Ashkan Dejagah are sure to create problems for the Rayyan defence.
Fans should not expect a repeat of the reverse fixture, which ended in a crushing 5-2 victory for Rayyan – this one should be much closer.
Al-Sulaiti urges Arabi fans  to get behind team during Rayyan clash
Al Arabi fans are being urged to get behind the Dream Team during their crunch encounter against Al Rayyan today.
Arabi’s head of football, Ali al-Sulaiti, said: “This is a crucial match and we need our fans to come and support us. The players are working very hard in training and are excited to face Al Rayyan. Matches between Al Arabi and Al Rayyan are always tough and competitive – and we expect no difference this weekend.”
Al-Sulaiti said he was pleased with Arabi’s recent improvement: “The team is improving – our recent form has been very good. However we will need to be at our best to beat Al Rayyan. Even though they have some injuries, we know it will be a difficult game. Rayyan have a good squad and quality replacements.”

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