We will fight for ESL title until the end, says Al Rayyan coach

We will fight for ESL title until the end, says Al Rayyan coach

Alkass Digital

Expressing his delight on win over Al Duhail, Al Rayyan coach Leonardo Jardim said his team still has a chance of winning the Expo Stars League (ESL) title.

The Lions defeated the defending champions 2-0 on Sunday night to consolidate their fourth spot in the standings as they moved to 35 points – 12 clear of reigning Amir Cup champions Al Arabi, who are occupying the fifth place.

Al Rayyan are eight points adrift of leaders Al Sadd, who edged out Al Markhiya 2-1 after substitute Yousuf Abdurisag’s last-gasp winner on Sunday. They are also trailing Al Gharafa by five points and are two points behind Al Wakrah.

But Jardim is targeting the top spot with four matches still remaining in the top flight.

“We would continue to fight for the League title until the end,” the Portuguese tactician said.

“We have four matches remaining in the League and we will consider all these matches as finals. We would play to win these matches to keep our chances for the title alive,” Jardim added.

Roger Guedes slotted a late brace to give Al Rayyan full points against Al Duhail in what was a gripping clash at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.

“It was a difficult match and despite the injuries during the game we managed to keep our control and scored two goals that brought us back in the competition,” he said.

“The players gave their best and I am happy with their determination. I hope they would continue to fight like this in the remaining matches,” he said.

Al Rayyan will now take on Muaither, who are battling to avoid relegation being placed on 11th position with 14 points ahead of Al Markhiya, on April 7. The Week 20 will begin on April 5 with leaders Al Sadd squaring off with Al Duhail while Al Wakrah will meet Al Arabi the same day.

Al Sadd had to work hard to beat Al Markhiya as they bounced back from a Paulo Otavio own-goal in the first half with Akram Afif netting the equaliser in the second half before Abdurisag’s decisive goal.

“The match against Al Markhiya was challenging, especially considering that the opponent is battling to avoid relegation. We are striving to maintain our lead, and we are thankful to have secured the victory and three points in the final moments of the game,” said Al Sadd goalkeeper Meshaal Barsham.

 “We focus solely on our own results and aim to deliver our best and secure victories in every match,” said Barsham while speaking on the competition with other title contenders.