By Sports Reporter Doha
Champions Al Rayyan take on arch rivals Al Sadd in the Qatar Clasico in the tenth round of the Qatar Stars League at the Al Sadd Stadium today.
Al Rayyan suffered their first defeat of the season and slipped to fifth in the table after a derby match against Al Gharafa. The Lions will be looking to pounce on Al Sadd in the biggest match of the season for both teams.
Rayyan head coach Michael Laudrup knows the importance of this game and what it means to the players.
“It’s a different game, it’s the Clasico and all over the world there are matches like this. Everybody wants to see this game and both sides want to get the three points. It will be a game in which small things will decide who wins because both teams are on a good level.”
Speaking about the match fitness of Victor Caceres, Laudrup said, “He was a very important player for us but he is injured for this whole season and we are sorry for him but this is part of football. He is now back in training and we hope he can join us later in the season. When he comes back we need to give him time to get him back to his best. But I think he will be back to his best before AFC Champions league starts in February.”
The Danish tactician expects his players to rise to the occasion. “We are expecting a reaction from our team after the defeat. The players really want to win this game as last season we played three games against Al Sadd. Two losses and one draw so the players really want to win this game. The way we play now I am satisfied with it so I will continue with the same style,” he said at the pre-match conference yesterday.
Al Sadd are undefeated in the league so far this season and are currently third in the table. The Wolves will look to continue their good form against their biggest rivals Al Rayyan.
Al Sadd assistant coach Hisham Zahid said his team is ready for the crunch encounter, “We are ready for all the games and the players know the importance of this game. We expect a reaction from Al Rayyan after their loss against Gharafa. We will continue our preparation until the match and we have no absences. It will be a different atmosphere from all the other games and we are looking forward to it.”
Speaking about his opponents, Zahid said, “Rayyan is a good team, one of the best in the league and even if they lose some games they are still very strong. We won against them last season and we hope we can repeat that result.”
“I think El Jaish deserve to be in first place. They get more chances because they work hard and they are playing much better than everyone else right now. From our side, we will try our best to be in the first position and chase them. When you get points from the top teams it gives you confidence and motivation for the rest of the season. And that is important if you want to challenge for the title,” added the assistant coach.
In the eight matches between the two teams, Al Rayyan have won twice whilst Al Sadd have won on three occasion. The sides have also drawn on three occasions.
It promises to be a high scoring affair with 25 goals scored in the 8 games at an average of 3.12 goals per match. Al Sadd have scored 13 goals while Al Rayyan have scored 12 goals.
Today’s first match will see Umm Salal take on in-form Al Gharafa at Qatar SC stadium. Both sides have enjoyed solid starts to the season, and will be aiming to continue their winning runs over their potential top four rivals.
At the same time in Al Khor stadium, Al Khor will take on Al Wakrah. Both teams will be hoping for a big result to relieve their relegation fears. Wakrah are rock bottom of the QSL standings, and are desperate for all three points after drawing their last two games in the league.
4pm: Umm Salal vs Al Gharafa
4pm: Al Khor vs Al Wakrah
6:10pm: Al Rayyan vs Al Sadd
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