16 Apr 2018 - 2:02
Confident Al Rayyan eye Al Ain scalp in home clash
By Rizwan Rehmat I The Peninsula
DOHA: Feared striker captain Rodrigo Tabata yesterday said Al Rayyan are confident of nailing a win against UAE’s Al Ain, claiming the Qatar giants are in ‘battle ready mode’ for the mouth-watering AFC Champions League clash.
Third-placed Al Rayyan, coached by Michael Laudrup, are eager to leapfrog second-placed Al Ain in Group D with a win today at Jassim bin Hamad Stadium.
“Al Ain is a great team. They made it to the final two years ago but Al Rayyan has all the ingredients to go beyond this match,” Tabata said yesterday.
“We have trained hard and the team is in battle ready mode for this clash,” he added.
“We can reach round of 16 and that will be a great motivation for us. We are banking on our ability and the fans in this game,” the former Qatar national team striker said.
Tabata pointed out that the team learned from mistakes from their previous clash when they lost to Group D leaders Esteghlal two weeks ago.
“We are ready for this clash. The team was prepared well for this game through hard training before the game,” Tabata said.
The 35-year-old urged Al Rayyan fans to turn up in big numbers.
“Our fans are always behind the team. The fans play the most prominent role in putting pressure on the opponent and instilling the enthusiasm and strength to our players,” Tabarata said.
“So I hope to see them in the stadium. I expect a huge crowd turning up to watch the game at Jassim bin Hamad Stadium,” he added.
Tabata stressed that the players have a strong desire to make the fans happy and compensate for losing the league title by qualifying for the last 16 of the AFC Champions League.
Al Rayyan’s Moroccan midfielder Mouhcine Moutouali yesterday said: “Al Rayyan are ready for this crucial match. We need the support of our fans.”
The 32-year-old added: “We have played strong matches in the AFC Champions League this season and deserve to go into the Round of 16. We need to win over Al Ain in order to crown the team’s efforts with the qualification that everyone wants.”
Moutouali said: “Al Rayyan have played some spectacular football in the last few games. We have been close to winning some away games also. Having said that, now we are really motivated to reach the round of 16.”
Veteran forward Sebastian Soria said: “We have to be confident on the pitch and play a role that gets us a win. We are confident that whenever the fans are in the stands, they are the 12th player for us on the pitch. We cannot promise them the result they seek, but we promise them that we will do our best.”
Laudrup, who yesterday headed the team training at Jassim bin Hamad Stadium, said he believe his players will deliver a memorable performance.
“We have to win to qualify. We know that Al Ain have great players but we have confidence in our potential. We play the game with a great deal of balance,” Laudrup said yesterday.
“The squad has prepared well for this match. Such matches are settled in simple details like attack and defence. We hope that the details will be in our favour. It will be a historic achievement if forward to a historic achievement for Al Rayyan,” the popular Dane added.
In another key clash today, Qatar giants Al Sadd visit Persepolis of Iran. Al Sadd, coached by Jesualdo Ferreira, have qualified for the round of 16 from Group C.
Tomorrow, QNB Stars League champions Al Duhail - who have already secured the round of 16 berth - host Al Wahda of UAE while Al Gharafa take on Tractor Sazi.