Doha, Qatar: Al Rayyan continued their revival under caretaker coach Gilson Souza with a 1-0 victory against Al Khor in the QNB Stars League on Friday.
Captain Rodrigo Tabata scored for Rayyan who moved to third in the table with 33 points.
Rayyan were crumbling big time with three humiliating defeats — to Al Sadd and Al Shahania in the league followed by a thrashing at the hands of Al Ittihad in the AFC Champions League — which cost coach Bulent Uygun his job, but Under-23 coach Souza, who took charge after the sacking of the Turk, steadied the ship with a crucial victory against Lokomotiv Tashkent to help them bounce back to contention in the continental competition.
And they made sure they did not lose their momentum with a battling display at Al Sadd Stadium.
The win will definitely help Rayyan clam their nerves as they reach the business end of the season.
Rayyan dominated the first half and Khor had to thank Baba Djibril for keeping them in the game with a series of splendid saves.
Djibril denied Myon Gin Koh, Abdulrahman Harazi and Gelmin Rivas but he was helpless when Tabata met Mohammed Juma's cross with a diving header at the far post to give Rayyan the lead in the 36th minute.
Tabata had another chance to increase his tally soon when he got a clear look at goal, with Lucca Borges in a more promising position, but he opted for a left-footer and Djibril made a superb save.
Rayyan failed to take their momentum into the second half, allowing Khor to remain in the hunt throughout the match and Fahad Younis Baker had to make a desperate stop to deny Aymen Trabelsi in the 75th.
Trabelsi again had an opportunity five minutes later but his shot was straight at Baker, while Tiago Bezerra also missed an opportunity.
Baker, by far the busiest of the goalkeepers in the second half, was tested by Wagner Ferreira in the 90th minute and in the next moment Tabata combined with Lucca Borges for Rayyan's only noteworthy attack, but the Brazilian could not finish off the move.
Rayyan still had to endure a few jittery moments, especially when Wagner's left-footer bounced wide off the post with Baker beaten, but the Lions held on.