TEHRAN (Tasnim) Saipa football team of Iran failed to reach the 2019 AFC Champions League group stage after losing to Al Rayyan of Qatar on Tuesday. - Sports news - A last-minute double-salvo helped the Qatari football team come from behind to defeat Saipa 3-1.
The home crowd at Jassim bin Hamad Stadium were left stunned as Saipa took an early lead inside four minutes as Mohammadreza Soleiman nodded the ball on to the path of Arman Ramezani who capitalized on a defensive mix-up to stab home the opener.
New signing Gelmin Rivas marked his continental debut for Al Rayyan with a goal. The Venezuelan, formerly of Al Hilal and Al Ittihad, received Rodrigo Tabata's pass inside the box and stuck on the half-volley in the 27th minute.
Despite sustained pressure from the home side, Ali Daei's men defended well and relied on counter-attacks and set-pieces as it looked to upset Al Rayyan.
Samuel Sarfo came close for Saipa with a header nine minutes into the second half and Moein Abbasian wasn't any luckier, fluffing his lines from close range in the 64th minute.
The Iranian defense finally broke under the pressure, and it was again Tabata's magical touch that created the opportunity for Al Rayyan.
The former Qatari international sent a long ball from a set-piece that was guided expertly by Sebastian Soria's header to turn the table in favor of the home team with one minute to go.
Saipa threw bodies forward as it looked to grab a late equalizer, but spaces opened at the back allowing Al Rayyan to strike again.
Rivas doubled his tally and confirmed his side's progress into the group stage after curling in from Koh Myong-jin's intelligent pass.
The 3-1 triumph means Al Rayyan joined two-time champion Al Ittihad as well as UAE's Al Wahda and Uzbekistan's PFC Lokomotiv in Group B.