By Sports Reporter/Doha
Al Rayyan will be looking to continue their impressive start to the QNB Stars League campaign, when they take on Al Kharaitiyat in today’s early match.
Lions boss Michael Laudrup said his side are aiming for back-to-back wins against the Thunders. “Al Khor (Rayyan’s first round opponent) and Al Kharaitiyat are similar teams. They are set up in the same way and we expect them to play the same way. We have to be careful of Kharaitiyat especially after they lost their opening game against Umm Salal. We are aiming to continue this good start in the league, that’s always important and builds momentum for the season,” the Danish coach said.
“We still have players we have not seen – Maksoud and Kasola. We have a good squad and I think that we can make changes and still be stronger. We will make three changes for the game and I expect the players to come in to do well. That is all you want as a coach,” added Laudrup, when asked about the strength of the side.
Laudrup stressed that his side will be fighting on four fronts for silverware this season. “Al Rayyan want to win the title this season. In the league we want to close the gap to Al Duhail and Al Sadd. We will try and compete with them in the league and then compete to win one of the three cups which are up for grabs,” he said.
Al Kharaitiyat, meanwhile, will be looking to put their opening day defeat behind them. Thunders boss Ahmad al-Ajlani conceded Rayyan will be a tough opponent but the Tunisian said his team is ready for the crunch match.
The match against Rayyan is a tough one for us. They had a big win against Al Khor. I am asking my players to do their best and even if we get a draw it will be a positive result for us. To play a top side will give my side plenty of motivation,” al-Ajlani said.
“We did not play well against Umm Salal. We did not give our best and this upsets me. The reaction from my side is now important. I spoke to the players about the game and we agreed that we have to work harder, especially against Al Rayyan,” he added.
Kharaitiyat defender Saud Nassr insisted that they will have to work hard to get a result against their opponents. “We are looking to pick up any points, to let our season start. Nothing is impossible. The side which works the hardest will get the victory and this is our aim. The loss to Umm Salal is now behind us, we have to focus on Al Rayyan,” Nassr said.
Meanwhile, Al Sadd who lost their opening match to Markhiya but the result was overturned after the newly-promoted fielded an ineligible player, will be clash against Sailiya at Al Arabi stadium.
While Al Sadd can count themselves lucky having got three points against Markhiya despite a defeat, they know they have to perform better than last week. Head coach Jesulado Ferriera said he expected an improved performance from his team. “I don’t know the strategy of Al Sailiya for this match, but we must focus on our performance in order to get the result we need,” he said.
“Our players are not in good condition at the moment, they are tired. We are trying to recover them in time for the game, against Al Markhiya we dropped in the last 20 minutes and we have tried to address this in training this week,” added Ferriera.
The Portuguese coach gave an update on injured Bagdad Bounjah. “Bounjah had a serious injury in the Sheikh Jassim Cup. We will make a decision on him in the coming days. However we have a big squad, and we have players who can replace Bounedjah if he is unavailable against Al Sailiya,” the coach added.
On the other hand, Al Sailiya, which registered a fine opening day win against Al Arabi will be targeting for more of the same. Head coach Sami Trabelsi though knows his team will have to be at their very best to get a result against Al Sadd.
We will have to be at full concentration against Al Sadd. Usually these games are special occasions, and we have to be ready for the challenge of Al Sadd, who will be looking to get their first victory.”
“We have to follow up on our good match against Al Arabi. We have to nullify the Al Sadd attack and fight right until the very end of the game,” added Trabelsi.
Today: Al Kharaitiyat vs Al Rayyan at Al Khor Stadium 5:50pm; Al Sailiya vs Al Sadd at Al Ahli Stadium 8pm; Qatar SC vs Al Markhiya at Al Duhail Stadium 8pm
Tomorrow: Al Duhail vs Al Arabi at Al Duhail Stadium 5:50pm; Al Khor vs Al Ahli at Al Khor Stadium 8pm
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