Doha: Al Rayyan defeated arch-rivals Al Arabi 1-0 to provisionally go top of the QNB Stars League table with 11 points on Friday.
Mohammed Juma scored the winner in the 37th minute with an opportunistic header in a keenly contested match at Al Arabi Stadium.
Rayyan enjoyed the better of the exchanges in terms of ball possession but they created very few clear-cut chances before taking the lead through Juma.
Daniel Goumou’s cross into the penalty area had danger written all over it and Fahad Khalfan, in a desperate attempt to clear the ball, only managed to mishit it towards the goal. Though Arabi goalkeeper Masoud Zarayi touched it on to the bar, Juma was in the right position at the right time to head home the rebound.
Before that, Rodrigo Tabata had tested Zarayi with a freekick while former Arabi man Khalfan Ibrahim’s menacing run across the penalty area came to nothing while at the other end Arabi did not offer anything in terms of attacking threat.
The Reds started much more aggressively in the second half and could easily have equalised had Ahmed Fathi shown a bit more composure in front of the goal.
Ahmed Ibrahim showed plenty of composure on his part to clear the line under pressure and his long ball helped Arabi turn defence into attack.
Franco Arizala’s cross found Mohammed Salah, whose layoff, however, was blasted wide by Fathi.
Rayyan also had a chance to consolidate, but Mousa Haroun dragged his shot wide after being found by Tabata.
Rayyan brought their new signing Jonathan Diego Mendez in place of Khalfan and even though the Argentinian looked lively on the left, Arabi managed to hold on while Rayyan looked happy with their one-goal lead.
Mohamed Salah breached Rayyan defence in the 86th minute but the goal was ruled out for offside.
In the second match of the day, Qatar Sports Club lost 3-2 to Al Shahania, their fourth straight league defeat despite star signing Samuel Eto’o breaking his duck.
Shahania raced to a two-goal lead by the half-hour mark through Jean-Paul Kessé and Sultan Al Kuwari and even though Eto’o brought them back into the game with a goal in the 52nd minute, Mesaad Ali Al Hamad struck in the 79th restore their two-goal cushion.
Yousef Mohammed scored Qatar SC’s second in the dying moments of the game.