QNB Stars League Week 9 — Al Rayyan vs Al Gharafa
Al Rayyan have seven wins to show for their efforts in this season’s QNB Stars League when they face Al Gharafa, who have only one victory, in a Week 9 fixture at the Khalifa International Stadium on Saturday.
Third-placed Al Rayyan, on 21 points, have been in impressive form, while Al Gharafa are struggling to find their footing even after eight matches.
Al Gharafa lag behind in scoring rate too. They have only 10 goals for and conceded 12. Going by form, it will take an extraordinary effort from them to hold off the rivals.
Al Rayyan coach Michael Laudrup had said after their derby victory over Al Arabi last week that they were more confident now because they had won 11 of the 12 matches played in the league and QSL Cup. They had qualified for the cup semifinals with an all-win record and one round of games to spare.
“Al Rayyan now have more confidence as we’ve won 11 of the 12 games we’ve played in the league and QSL Cup. We look forward to more wins in the coming matches,” said Laudrup.
“I’m happy and satisfied with Al Rayyan’s superiority in the Week 8 match against Al Arabi. We’re in third spot, but that’s no problem for us. I say that because Al Rayyan are playing attacking football which is good,” he added.
Al Rayyan boast of a formidable line-up with the likes of Abderrazaq Hamdallah, Sebastian Soria and Rodrigo Tabata, who each has scored six goals thus far.
Slovakian attacking midfielder is Al Gharafa’s trump card, but he is a doubtful starter having missed their last match due to an injury.
The match assumes more significance because it is the first QNB Stars League game to be played at the refurbished Khalifa International Stadium after it opened its doors to the world this May with the Emir’s Cup final.
In between, the venue hosted Qatar’s World Cup qualifier against China.
The game, originally scheduled at the Al Sadd Stadium which hosts Al Rayyan’s home matches, is one of the six QNB Stars League, Qatargas League as well as Second Division fixtures rescheduled with an aim to give Qatar’s wider footballing family an opportunity to experience the first 2022 FIFA World Cup host venue to be completed.
The other QNB Stars League to be played there is Al Khor vs Al Sadd (Week 10, 1st December).
It will also allow the Khalifa International Stadium Operations Team to continue testing venue operations and management as part of the SC’s ongoing readiness strategy.