DOHA: Last week's 5-1 thrashing by Al Ittihad in the AFC Champions League and back-to-back defeats in the Qatar Stars League (QSL) had left Al Rayyan in a spot of bother.
But a change in coach (club’s Under-23 coach Gilson Souza replaced Turk Bulent Uygun after last week's rout in Jeddah) and a new-found confidence saw the Qatari side fight back to beat Uzbekistan’s PFC Lokomotiv 2-1 in a Group B match of the continental club competition here on Monday.
“The victory will give the players a lot confidence in the ACL. It’s just the start, and we’ve a lot of work ahead of us,” said Gilson. “Any team that plays as unit can achieve a positive result. Team spirit helped us overcome the Uzbek side.”
In fact, Rayyan showed a lot intensity in their attacks and were confidence personified despite being down by a down in the fourth minute.
Temurkhuja Abdukholikov beat Rayyan’s talismanic captain Rodrigo Tabata and exchanged with Jamshid Iskanderov before sending a cross for Diyorjon Turapov, who simply tapped home. The Central Asians could’ve increased their lead, but Jovan Djokic saw his shot sail over the bar.
Rayyan, who are fourth in the QSL, equalised in the 38th minute when Lucca Borges drilled the ball home after he was put through by Venezuelan international Gelmin Rivas.
“The victory against Lokomotiv has restored the team spirit. I thank the coach for the team’s revival in fortune,” said midfielder Abdulrahman Harazi.
Buyoed by the goal, Rayyan, who will face Al Khor in the league on Friday, were rewarded for their hard work when Rivas also got his name on the score sheet.
The 29-year-old capitalized on a cross from Sebastian Soria inside the box in the 58th minute to help his side pick an important win in the group, which also has Al Wahda.
“We worked as a team to recover from a goal down,” said Mohammed Ala. “This will help us to perform better against Al Wahda next month.”