Doha, Qatar: Al Rayyan will take on leaders Al Duhail in the Qatar Stars League knowing that another defeat will be a crushing blow to their title challenge.
With nine more rounds to go Rayyan, with 28 points are five behind Duhail and just one ahead of fast-approaching Al Sadd and a defeat on Saturday will make it difficult for them for a comeback.
Rayyan have lost their last three matches and have shipped 13 goals in the process, including a 0-5 defeat against Esteghlal in the AFC Champions League play-off on Tuesday.
Coach Diego Aguirre said they will fight for the title.
“We have to fight if we want to compete for the title. Losing the last few games pushes us to work to be better. We are going through a bad patch, but it is the same team that was competing for the lead in the QNB Stars League standings three weeks ago,” said Aguirre at the pre-match press conference.
“It happens to all teams. The solution, in my opinion, is to work to restore our level, our position, and our chances of competing for the title.
The Uruguayan said they needed to believe in themselves, especially after the defeat to Esteghlal.
“We feel sad after the big-margin loss to Esteghlal. That feeling will make the players come back strongly and we have to believe in our capabilities and return to our normal level.
“Al Rayyan do not depend on one player (Yacine Brahimi). He is one of the good solutions we have, but all players have their roles and we will try to motivate them to present their best. I look at all players and not just one,” said Aguirre.
Sadd Meanwhile will take on Al Sailiya who also crashed out of the AFC Champions League after losing to Shahr Khodrou in the penalties.
Sailiya coach Sami Trabelsi said they were confident of qualifying for the Champions League and the defeat was saddening.
“Frankly, I saw the players’ tears in the dressing room after the match as we were hoping to qualify for the group stage. There is no doubt that the exit affected the team, but we must forget that match and focus on the next one,” said Trabelsi.
The Tunisian was hoping to take advantage of the inconsistency of Sadd.
“Al Sadd are a very strong team that has recorded victories by big margins over big teams. At the same time, they have also lost by big margins. So that proves they are inconsistent in their performances. They beat stronger teams, but either drew or lost against less strong teams,” said Trabelsi.
“We have tried to correct some mistakes. God willing, we will be at a high level of focus and provide a good level. We have a problem with ball possession and we will try to resolve it.
“This is football and this may be a bad time for us, like any other team.
“Our ambition is still great, we hope to reach the top four and also compete for the Amir Cup,” he added.
Al Ahli take on Al Khor in the firt match of the week on Thursday before Al Arabi play Umm Salal.
On Friday, Al Wakrah play Al Shahania while Al Gharafa meet Qatar SC.