Al Rayyan ease past Iran’s Saipa in ACL play-off
Doha: Al Rayyan came from behind to beat Iran’s Saipa 3-1 in the AFC Champions League play-off match here on Tuesday.
The victory helped Rayyan join two-time champions Al Ittihad and UAE’s Al Wahda and Uzbekistan’s PFC Lokomotiv in Group B.
Saipa struck early inside four minutes when Mohammadreza Soleiman nodded the ball on to the path of Arman Ramezani who capitalised on a defensive mix-up to stab home the opener.
But Rayyan’s new-signing Gelmin Rivas debuted in the continental tournament with an equalizer in the 27th minute when his shot hit the upright before it entered into the net.
The Venezuelan international was put through by Rodrigo Tabata inside the box.
Despite sustained pressure, Ali Daei’s men defended well and relied on counter-attacks and set-pieces as they looked to upset Rayyan.
But the visitors caved in when Tabata released a cross which was headed home by Sebastian Soria a minute before the full time.
Rivas added his second which also confirmed his side’s progress into the group stage after curling in from Koh Myong-jin’s intelligent pass.