Analysis: Al Hilal suffer tough loss to Al Rayyan

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Al Rayyan control the game and prevent Al Hilal from dominating

Al Hilal were not on their best of days when they lost to Al Rayyan 2-1 at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium in Qatar, with Al Hilal coming into this game with a different line-up.

Abdulla Otayf, Abdumalik Al Khaibary and Mohammed Kanno completed the midfield three, while Mohammed Al Shalhoub replaced Ezequiel Cerutti and Ali Al Blaihi replaced Mohammed Jahfali.

Why did Al Hilal suffer?

The mental aspect was definitely a negative factor on Al Hilal’s play, especially after the departure of former successful coach Ramon Diaz. The Blue Wave’s players were lackluster, unable to apply tactical aspects on the game as a unit and failed to coordinate with each other to better Al Rayyan.

This was even the case with the experienced midfielder Mohammed Al Shalhoub, who struggled against Al Rayyan with misplaced passes in the attack.

Al Hilal were also unable to bring the ball out of the back and build play, as random passes and dribbles highlighted their play. Even when they lost the ball, their defensive structure was poor and allowed Al Rayyan to freely build play once they regained the ball.

This was odd, seeing as that the usually excellently defensive midfielder Abdulmalik Al Khaibary was playing behind Otayf and Kanno to provide defensive security, but there were a large amount of spaces in and around Al Hilal’s defenders.

Inevitably, these spaces led to the goals for Al Rayyan, especially the second one when Tabata was free to shoot in the box and scored the second goal.

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