Expo Stars League: Al-Sadd cruise to the top with 4-0 win over Al-Rayyan

Al-Sadd asserted their dominance over Al-Rayyan, clinching a resounding 4-0 victory in their Expo Stars League eleventh week clash on Saturday. This triumph catapulted Al-Sadd to the summit of the league table with a tally of 25 points, while still having two postponed matches against Al-Duhail and Al-Arabi yet to be played.

The star of the match was undoubtedly Baghdad Bounedjah, who secured a remarkable hat-trick, with goals in the 46th, 75th, and 83rd minutes. Gonzalo Plata also got on the scoresheet, bolstering Al-Sadd’s lead in the 53rd minute.

The match got off to a spirited performance from both sides. A dramatic turn of events unfolded in the 9th minute when Al-Rayyan’s Rodrigo Moreno received a red card for a challenge on Al-Sadd defender Pedro Miguel.

Throughout the first half, Al-Sadd exhibited relentless pressure in their quest for the opening goal. Akram Afif’s powerful shot in the 20th minute tested Al-Rayyan’s defense, resulting in a corner. The 43rd minute showcased Afif’s penetration from the left side, before the star delivered a tantalizing cross that just eluded Bounedjah, squandering a golden opportunity for Al-Sadd. The first half thus concluded with a goalless deadlock.

The second half commenced with a burst of energy for Al-Sadd, with a double substitution bringing on Hassan Al-Haydos and Hashim Ali. Al-Haydos got involved immediately and helped make the move that led to the opening goal. Pedro Miguel’s precise cross found the feet of Bounedjah, who broke the stalemate from close range.

Gonzalo Plata extended Al-Sadd’s lead in the 53rd minute, expertly converting a direct free-kick from outside the penalty area, placing the ball in the far-right corner of Al-Rayyan’s goal.

Bounedjah continued his stellar performance, adding the third goal in the 75th minute with a low shot from inside the box. He then sealed his hat-trick in the 83rd minute, putting the final touch to Afif’s cross from the right.