Doha: Al Rayyan will have to play their best game, with the ball as well as without it, if they are to beat arch-rivals Al Sadd in Qatar Clasico on Friday, said coach Michael Laudrup.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference on Wednesday, the Dane said it was a big game for both sides.
“It’s a very big game and we are looking forward to it. It’s been a while since Rayyan have beaten Sadd and we want to do well,” said Laudrup.
“We know we’ve to play our absolute best with the ball and without the ball. If we don’t do well (when we are not in possession) the likes of Baghdad (Bounedjah), (Hassan) Al Haidous and (Jugurtha) Hamroun, and especially Xavi will kill us,” said.
When the teams met in the league last season, Sadd thrashed Laudrup’s side 5-0 in the first match in which Baounedjah bagged a hat-trick. Rayyan fared little better in the second match, losing it 1-4, and Laudrup would be keen to stem the rot.
In fact, Sadd have been a bogey team for Rayyan in the league of late, with their last victory against the Wolves coming way back in February 2013.
Though Rayyan have beaten Sadd in other competitions, including in the QSL Cup last month where their opponents opted to field a second string side, they have found the going tough against their arch rivals when it mattered.
Even in 2015-16 when Rayyan ran away with the title, they failed to beat Sadd.
They have a golden chance to end that dubious run as Sadd are not at their best.
Though they are yet to drop a point, Jesualdo Ferreira’s men are yet to find their rhythm. They were on the back foot for long periods against Arabi last week and Rayyan have the personnel and ammunition to trouble them.
“I’m very happy with the way we’ve played so far,” said Laudrup. We’ve attacked well and we’ve created so many chances.”
Laudrup would need Rodrigo Tabata and Co to create chances and take them as well on Friday.