Al Rayyan went down fighting to the UAE’s Al Wahda 3-4 in the fourth round of 2019 AFC Champions League in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Leonardo was the star of the show, netting all four goals for Al Wahda as they came from behind to put it across the Qatari side in their Group B match.
Al Wahda had come from behind to defeat Al Rayyan 2-1 in Doha in the previous round.
The visitors came racing off the blocks and were in front as early as the second minute through Sebastian Soria. The lanky striker evaded his marker inside the box and headed home from Rodrigo Tabata’s free-kick to hand Al Rayyan an early lead.
Buoyed by the goal, Gilson de Souza’s men continued to push forward and were rewarded for their attacking intent with a second goal in the sixth minute. Left-back Mohammed Juma crossed for Gelmin Rivas and the Venezuelan’s header was blocked by Al Wahda defender Ahmed Rashid. The ball, however, fell to Rivas who hit it first-time into the bottom corner for his third goal in this year’s tournament.
Al Wahda’s response was instant, pulling one back through Leonardo. The Brazilian collected the ball from Mansor Al Harbi’s pass and dribbled past two defenders before placing the ball composedly into the back of the net from inside the box in the eighth minute.
With three goals inside the first eight minutes, the game continued at a fast pace. Rim Chang-Woo and Sebastian Tagliabue missed chances for Al Wahda over the following 10 minutes before the fourth goal of the first half arrived.
Juma intercepted a poor defensive clearance from Al Wahda and supplied the ball to Koh Myong-Jin whose cross on the volley found Rivas at the far post. The former Al Hilal and Al Ittihad striker applied the finish to make it 3-1 for Al Rayyan midway through the opening half.
There was more of the same in the second half and it was Al Wahda who scored the next goal in this attacking festival.
Leonardo pounced on a loose ball inside the box, cutting inside into his left and drilled home his fifth strike of the competition, making it 3-2 in the 56th minute.
Eight minutes from time, Leonardo completed his hat-trick, tapping in from point-blank after Tagliabue had fed the ball to Khalil Ibrahim down the right to cross low for the Brazilian who was left with the easiest of finishes to bring Al Wahda level.
Leonardo still had more tricks up his sleeve, snatching the winner and his fourth of the night in the last minute. Ismail Matar’s cross from a set-piece was headed across the mouth of the goal by substitute Hussain Abbas for Leonardo who was perfectly positioned to nod home the winning goal.