Doha: Brazilian Lucca Borges de Brito opened his account in Qatar with an early goal but Al Rayyan were held to a 1-1 draw by Al Ahli in the QNB stars League on Friday thanks to Mohsine Moutaouali’s 75th-minute equaliser.
Though the result ended Ahli’s six-match winning run in all competitions, Milan Macala’s side would be the happier with the result especially with their strong finish to the match.
Rayyan, on 22 points from 12 matches, dropped down to fourth on goal difference after Al Sailiya's 2-0 victory against Umm Salal. Sailiya, who suffered three straight defeats after a stupendous start, have now steadied the ship with the second straight victory despite Rachid Tiberkane getting sent off in the fifth minute. Abdulqadir Ilyas (27th minute) and Fahd Youssef (76th) scored for Sailiya who have a goal difference of +10 to Rayyan's +2. While Ahli moved to fifth with 19 points, Umm Salal, on 15, are seventh.
Al Arabi are eighth after their 1-0 victory against Al Khor, with Mohamed Salah finding the target in the 26th minute.
Meanwhile at Ahli Stadium, visitors Rayyan took the lead from their first attack.
Mowafak Awad had too much time and space on the right as he picked Lucca with a cross and the Brazilian scored his first Rayyan goal with an unerring header.
Mowafak was then allowed to cut in from the right flank and was given a clear look at goal but goalkeeper Ivanildo Santos came to Ahli’s rescue with a desperate block.
Lucca almost doubled his tally after Rodrigo Tabata tracked his run with a splendid ball behind the defence and the former Corinthians forward expertly controlled it but could not place it past the advancing keeper.
At the other end, Ahli were creating chances of their own and Nasser Saleh Al Khalfan was only inches away from meeting Mohammed Muntari’s cross while moments later the lanky striker sent his header wide of the post.
Rayyan missed a great chance towards the end of the first half when Lucca’s lay-off found Tabata, who was uncharacteristically sloppy with his finishing, sending the ball high over the bar with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Lucca then sent his effort wide while Tabata drew a routine save from Ivanildo at the start of the second half as Rayyan continued to enjoy the better of the exchanges.
Ahli had former Ajax, Manchester City and AC Milan midfield enforcer Nigel de Jong in their ranks, but Rayyan, with the evergreen captain Rodrigo Tabata pulling the strings, looked to have the match under their control.
However, Tabata was once again guilty of missing an easy chance, when he sent his left-footer wide of the goal.
Ahli were getting ready to punish Rayyan for their sloppiness and they caught their rivals off guard with a quick counter-attack in the 74th minute when Moutaouali surged ahead unmarked before Barry came to the Lions rescue with a brave save.
However, Rayyan failed to avert the danger completely and moments later Moutaouali found himself unmarked yet again, this time inside the Rayyan penalty box, and he gleefully lashed in a right-footer for the equaliser.
Ahli were the ones finishing strongly and substitute Meshaal Abdullah’s powerful shot missed the target only by a whisker.