Sports Monks

Al Sadd defeated Al Rayyan in ‘Clasico’ to keep their unbeaten streak alive; 10-man Al Ahli is being kept by Qatar SC

Al Sadd defeated Al Rayyan 2-1 in a dramatic ‘Qatar Clasico,’ with Spaniard Santiago Cazorla scoring the winner to keep their undefeated run in the QNB Stars League alive (QSL).

Despite their loss at Al Sadd Stadium last night, Al Rayyan will remain in third place with 34 points heading into the final round after Al Ahli (33 points), and Qatar SC (32 points) drew 1-1 earlier at the same venue.

Al Khor stole a point against runners-up Al Duhail with a 1-1 draw at the Al Ahli Stadium yesterday and is now just two points behind 10th-placed Umm Salal with 16 points.

About the fact that the championship winners have already been determined, all eyes were on the ‘Qatar Clasico,’ which lived up to the hype, with fireworks from both Qatari football giants.

Al Rayyan, coached by Laurent Blanc of France, realized they’d have to put on a special show to defeat Xavi Hernandez’s Al Sadd, who have 18 wins and three draws to their credit. ‘The Lions’ put in a strong showing, especially in the first half, but they missed crucial opportunities, which cost them dearly.

Al Sadd took the lead in the fourth minute, with Baghdad Bounedjah scoring a goal after receiving a superb pass from Hashim Ali. The Algerian scored his 21st goal of the season.

With both teams trading attacks, the match, which had already gotten off to a good start, picked up even more pace. Al Rayyan’s attacks were dominated by Yohan Boli, while ‘The Wolves’ relied on Bounedjah, Cazorla, and captain Hassan Al Haydos, who had two goals disallowed in the first period.

Boli equalized with a header from a corner in the 28th minute as both sides returned to the dugout after a closely matched first half, though Al Sadd had the ball control advantage.

Al Rayyan had more attacks in the second half, but Al Sadd’s strong defence, particularly the marking of captain Yacine Brahimi, prevented them from tying the game after Cazorla’s match-winning penalty kick in the 66th minute. After Franck Kom was fouled inside the box, Al Sadd secured the penalty kick, with the Spaniard scoring a clean strike to the left of a diving Fahad Younis.

Earlier in the day, 10-man Qatar SC drew 1-1 with Al Ahli in a vital Round 21 match at the same venue.

After Abdulrasheed Ibrahiim took Al Ahli’s lead in the 40th minute, Bashar Resan Bonyan equalized for Qatar SC in the 74th minute. After a tense match, Al Ahli finished fourth with 33 points, one point ahead of fifth-placed Qatar SC.

Cristian Prieto was sent off for kicking Hernan Perez in the chest during a battle for the ball, and Qatar SC played the final 30 minutes without him.

In other matches, Al Khor drew 1-1 with Al Khor thanks to Giannis Fetfatzidis in the 65th minute, canceling Dudu’s score in the 49th minute.

At Al Ahli Stadium, Umm Salal will face Al Sailiya, while Al Arabi will face Al Kharaitiyat in the final Round 21 match of the day.

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