AL RAYYAN coach Michael Laudrup had downplayed talks of a revenge in the build-up to their match against Al Sadd, having lost 0-5 to them in the first phase. It proved wise on his part to have done so as he would have been made to eat his words after Jesualdo Ferreira’s men handed them a 4-1 defeat.
Last Sunday’s reversal seemed even more painful for the Danish great as the game was virtually over by half-time, with Rayyan trailing 0-3 and down to 10 men after losing defensive midfielder Daniel Goumou to a red card in the 38th minute.
Sadd, who were hell-bent on collecting full points in order to keep pace with leaders Lekhwiya, had more players returning from international duty, but it did not seem to affect them. They began on the offensive, took the lead in the 13th through Jugurtha Hamroun, then saw off the brief but intense challenge from Rayyan before tilting the momentum completely in their favour.
It was all Sadd once they had the numerical advantage. Baghdad Bounedjah converted from the spot in the 45th after Pedro Miguel won a penalty following a fine run from his own half into the rival box. And Morteza Mohammed had all the time in the world to head the ball into the right bottom corner of the net in injury time after Ibrahim Majed picked him out unmarked in the box with a gentle lob following a corner.
Laudrup had won the support of Rayyan fans with a series of fine performances, including in the AFC Champions League, leading into the month-long break, but they left the Al Sadd Stadium at half-time. Even striker Sebastian Soria departed after he was replaced with midfielder Ulysses Pascua on resumption as Ladurup looked to strengthen their defence. Yet, it continued to be embarrassingly porous as Abdulkarim Hassan made it 4-0 in the 53rd.
Rodrigo Tabata, who looked short of confidence after off-colour outings against Iran and Uzbekistan and struggled throughout the game to get his passing right, pulled one back in the 87th, but Rayyan looked desolate at the end. So did Laudrup. DSP