Kenya striker Michael Olunga was among the goals as Al Duhail showed their class to come from two goals down and defeat Al Rayyan 3-2 in an Expo Stars League thriller at the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium on Thursday.
The lanky Harambee Stars captain scored the winner of the high-intensity match in the 88th minute after he had earlier restored parity for his team in the 80th minute. Duhail’s first goal was scored by Almoez Ali in the 59th minute off a penalty after Roger Guedes had given Al Rayyan a two-goal lead in the 15th and 41st minutes. The fighting win took Duhail to third with 16 points, three behind leaders Al Sadd, who crushed bottom-placed Markhiya 5-0 earlier with Akram Afif scoring four goals.
Rayyan went ahead through Guedes in the 15th minute, after he fired home a right-footed shot to the bottom right corner after being put through by Moreno. Three minutes later, Duhail almost restored parity, but Kim Moon-Hwan’s right-footed attempt from outside the box went inches high. Duhail’s Brazilian Philippe Coutinho also saw his right-footed shot from the centre of the box following a weighed pass by Ismail Mohammed blocked in the 26th minute.
Rayyan doubled their lead in the 41st minute, with Guedes hitting his brace of the night from Osamah al-Tairi’s assist. The ball located the 27-year-old Brazilian forward unmarked in Duhail’s 18-yard box after al-Tairi’s well-timed pass and he wasted no time in blasting home with a right-footed shot to the top left corner of goalkeeper Salah Zakaria’s goal.
Duhail came out of the dugout all fired up for the second half and they took the battle to Rayyan with more attack-minded play and firm control of the midfield. In the 54th minute, Coutinho saw his right-footed shot from the right side of the box blocked. Three minutes later, Assim Madibo drew a foul in Rayyan’s penalty area after being tackled by Thiago Mendes, who got a card for the offence.
The subsequent spot kick was easily converted by Almoez to put The Red Knights back into the game. Parity was restored in the 80th minute, with Olunga firing from close range after an assist by Sultan Al Brake. Duhail kept attacking in droves as they put Rayyan on the backfoot.
They came close to taking the lead in the 84th minute, with Ibrahima Bamba’s header going wide. Four minutes later, Olunga got his eighth goal of the season as he gave Duhail the winner with a left-footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner following a fast break.