Doha, Qatar: Spanish forward Rodrigo Moreno scored a last-gasp winner as 10-man Al Rayyan spoiled Marco Verratti’s Qatar debut, edging out Al Arabi 1-0 in front of over 28000 spectators at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium yesterday.

With fans creating a cauldron-like atmosphere at the 2022 FIFA World Cup venue, both the opponents resumed the Expo Stars League (ESL) following a break for international friendlies and AFC Champions League matches with aggressive display.

Verratti, who moved from PSG, received a warm welcome and cheers from Al Arabi fans but the Italian midfielder’s first match in Qatar’s top flight ended with a loss.

Rodrigo connected a brilliant low cross from substitute Achraf Bencharki, slotting on the roof of the net with a left-footed touch in seventh minute of stoppage time to ensure fourth consecutive victory for Al Rayyan.

Al Arabi, who had much better ball possession, failed to take advantage after Al Rayyan’s Abdulaziz Hatem was sent off following a foul against Rafinha in 73rd minute.

The defeat kept Younes Ali’s side – runner-up in the previous edition – searching for first win of the season as they shared points in their first three games.

Meanwhile, Al Sadd climbed to second in the standings with 10 points behind leaders Al Rayyan after defeating Qatar SC 3-1 at Khalifa International Stadium.

Gonzalo Plata put the Wolves ahead in 16th minute before Ben Malango equalised four minutes later. Akram Afif regained lead for Al Sadd from a spot kick in 64th minute – his 100th goal for the club – before Paulo Otavio sealed third win of the season for Al Sadd with a strike in 81st minute.

At Al Bayt Stadium, Umm Salal defeated Al Ahli 3-1 with Oussama Tannane (17’ and 65’) scoring a brace. Marouane Louadni (37’) was other scorer for Orange Fortress while Naim Sliti (73’) scored consolation goal for Al Ahli.

Today, holders Al Duhail will take on Al Gharafa at Al Bayt Stadium while Al Markhiya will face Al Wakrah at Al Janoub Stadium.

The other Sunday’s match will pit Muaither and Al Shamal at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.

© Dar Al Sharq Press, Printing & Distribution. All Rights Reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (