Doha, Friday's final game saw league leaders Lekhwiya draw 1-1 with Al Rayyan at Al Sadd's Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, with the Red Knights extending their lead at the top of the table to six points and taking another decisive step towards the 2016/17 Qatar Stars League (QSL) Championship.
The game promised to be a tantalizing affair, with Djamel Belmadi's Lekhwiya still undefeated this season and Al Rayyan's Michael Laudrup facing his old club and coming into the fixture on a seven game winning streak.
The first half was somewhat of an ill-tempered stalemate, with both Al Rayyan and Lekhwiya conceding more free kicks and generating more yellow cards than clear chances on goal.
Lekhwiya's best chance of the half came on the 26th minute when Youssef El Arabi managed to outjump Al Rayyan's defence to latch onto a fierce cross from the right wing. Despite connecting well with the ball, it skimmed the top of the cross bar and went out for a goal kick.
Al Rayyan's only real chance of the half was a controversial one. Al Rayyan took a quick throw in despite one of Lekhwiya's players asking for play to be stopped due to an injury. Al Rayyan's Sergio Garcia instead proceeded to take the ball and run at goal, leaving Lekhwiya's defence scrabbling to get back. Garcia managed to get a decent shot away but Lekhwiya's goalkeeper produced a fine save to deny the Spaniard.
Lekhwiya came out looking the much better team in the second half, camping in Al Rayyan's half and keeping their defence busy. Lekhwiya couldn't break down Al Rayyan's defence though and on the 60th minute Al Rayyan stepped up a gear and the momentum began to swing in their direction.
Al Rayyan should have taken the lead on the 64th minute when their Captain, Rodrigo Tabata, found himself through on goal and one on one with Lekhwiya's goalkeeper after a scuffed Soria shot trickled through Lekhwiya's defence after a deflection. Despite having plenty of space and time, Tabata hit the ball first time and sent it high over the crossbar for a goal kick from 14 yards out.
On the 77th minute and against the run of play, Lekhwiya took the lead thanks to a goal from Youssef El Arabi who managed to control and finish a long looping ball that was delivered into the 18 yard box. Al Rayyan were attempting the offside trap but Al Arabi evaded it and managed to bring the long ball down and drill it into the bottom right hand corner of the goal with a fine right footed finish. Just minutes later Lekhwiya should have been two up but were denied by the woodwork.
Al Rayyan levelled the score just minutes later when Sergio Garcia latched onto the end of a Tabata free kick from 35 yards out. The Spaniard managed to get ahead of his marker and connect with the ball at the near post to poke it home from four yards out to make it 1-1 and claim his eighth goal of the season.
Both teams continued to press for a winner but left with a deserved point each. Lekhwiya extend their lead at the top of the six points while Al Rayyan further cements their third position.
Source: Qatar News Agency