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Dominant Al Sadd cruise to Clasico win, cut gap to 2 pts

Dominant Al Sadd cruise to Clasico win, cut gap to 2 pts

Ayeni Olusegun
Goals from Hamroun Jugurtha and Baghdad Bounedjah ensured Al Sadd kept pace with leaders Al Duhail as The Wolves beat rivals Al Rayyan in the Clasico at the Al Sadd stadium on Thursday. League leaders Al Duhail had thrashed Al Gharafa 5-1 in the early kickoff.
Michael Laudrup's Al Rayyan were two points behind Al Sadd in third before the highly anticipated clash, the best game of the year in Qatar football.
Xavi Hernandez had put his side in position early on in the match, pacing the game from midfield.
The Spaniard in the 15th minute could have put Sadd ahead when he narrowly missed from an Ali Assad cutback.
AL Sadd dominated the ball but Al Rayyan began to grow into the game gradually and Tabata should have done better with his effort after a good run.
The Rayyan captain dribbled his way into Sadd's defence, but his effort was easily punched out by Saad al Dosari.
Hamdallah had a chance to open before the 30th minute mark after Tabata had forced a save from Dosari in goal. Hamdallah missed another just a few minutes later as he headed wide with Dosari scrambling.
However, just before the 45-minute mark, Xavi proved once again why he is one of the best midfielders to have played the beautiful game. The former Barcelona star carved open the Rayyan defence with an inch perfect ball into the path of Jugurtha.
The 29-year-old midfielder produced a brilliant lob over the onrushing Barry to put his team one ahead to end the half.
Laudrup made a change in the second half, replacing U23 player Hossam Elsaid with Mohsine Moutaoualli. But Jesualdo Ferreira's team still continued their dominance in the middle of the pack.
Qatar U23 star Salem al Hajri showed a glimpse of Al Sadd's future with a stunning display in the midfield.
The youngster nutmegged veteran striker Tabata to create space for a sizzling strike which Barry punched out to safety.
Xavi almost doubled Al Sadd's lead just past the hour mark from outside the box. Haydos had sent Assadala on his way down the left and the Qatari midfielder found Xavi whose effort flew just wide off the right with Barry rooted to the ground.
Al Rayyan had a chance to even proceedings but Hamdallah's effort flew harmlessly wide. Sadd crushed all hopes of a comeback in the 78th minute as substitute Baghdad Bounedjah put The Wolves two up.
The Algerian striker who had been out for over a month with an injury, tapped in a loose ball after Omar Barry failed to save a looping header, punching straight at the striker who showed composure to tap in from close range.
Laudrup reacted by sending on Sebastian Soria who had been on the bench. The big striker injected some much needed pace into Rayyan's attack but Al Sadd held on to claim the maximum points and move five points clear of Rayyan in third.


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