Al Rayyan vs Al Kharaitiyat — QSL Cup second semifinal


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Going by form and strength, Al Rayyan should have it easy against Al Kharaitiyat in the second semifinal of QSL Cup at the Al Shamal Stadium (18:30) on Saturday, 16th December.

Al Rayyan were the first team to reach the last-four stage after their 1-0 victory over Umm Salal in Round 4. The result of the fifth and final round was only of academic interest for them even as they were held goalless by Al Arabi on Tuesday, 12th December, and finished their group campaign on 13 points.

The Lions’ other victories were against Al Ahli (2-0, Round 1), Al Sadd (5-1, round 2) and Al Markhiya (5-2, Round 3).

Al Rayyan thus emerged as runaway leaders in Group B, which saw a fierce battle for the second semifinal berth between four teams, who were all on five points, ahead of the last-round matches. Eventually, Umm Salal pipped Al Ahli on better goal difference after both ended up with eight points.

The going has been good for Danish great Michael Laudrup’s side so far this season. They are third in the QNB Stars League standings with 25 points, behind Al Duhail (29) and Al Sadd (27), while Al Kharaitiyat are precariously placed 10th with only nine points.  

Al Kharaitiyat reached the semifinals with 11 points (three victories and two draws). Like Al Rayyan, they also managed to stay unbeaten.

They went into their fifth-round fixture against Qatar SC, who needed to win by a two-goal margin to become the second side to progress behind Al Gharafa from Group A, with a winning mentality. And The Thunders did it in style by registering a 6-1 victory.

Al Kharaitiyat’s other wins were against Al Sailiya (3-1, Round 1) and Al Khor (4-2, Round 2), while they drew 4-4 with Al Duhail and 1-1 with Al Gharafa.

The winners will face Al Gharafa or Umm Salal in the final at the Qatar SC Stadium on Tuesday, 19th December.

Form and strength apart, Al Kharaitiyat, coached by Tunisian Ahmad Al Ajlani, are capable of springing a surprise and their rivals would be wary of that.