AL RAYYAN’S Danish coach Michael Laudrup could hardly contain his smile after his side defeated hosts Al Arabi 3-0 last week.
Goals from Koh Myong-Jin (20th), Sebastian Soria (27th) and Vivien Koua (own, 51st) ensured the champions picked up three important points. The easy victory should further boost Rayyan’s confidence.
Another positive for the Lions was the return to form of Soria, who converted from the spot after Ahmed Maksoud fouled Rodrigo Tabata inside the box.
Qatar international Soria had not scored in the last six matches, and the goal will surely increase his self-belief.
Rayyan are on 22 points, one less than Al Gharafa.
Despite the win, Laudrup is still under pressure as Rayyan are eight points off leaders Al Sadd.
While Rayyan are showing signs of redemption, Arabi looked like going back to their free-fall mode after their forwards missed plenty of chances.
The Reds, looking to revive their glory days, slipped to seventh with 13 points and will have to do extremely well to remain in the top tier.
Against Rayyan, former champions Arabi showed early promise, but fizzled out against the rivals’ aggression. Energetic Mohammed Juma had an impressive game against his former club.
The left-back, who moved to Arabi this season after playing under Jorge Fossati in almost all matches last year, contributed with some good passes, but poor finishing by the attackers undid all his efforts.
Edison Aguirre, who replaced caretaker coach Kamal Akhlaf last month, has a tough job on his hands. The Brazilian had reined in the team’s pathetic form
with back-to-back wins over Al Shahaniya and Al Khor, and draw against Al Wakrah, but will now have to ensure that the defeat does not dent their confidence.
Aguirre would be eager to see his side return to winning ways in the competition when they take on Umm Salal on Thursday.