Al Sadd primed for title tilt
Kuala Lumpur: Al Sadd are in the right place ahead of the kick-off of the 2019-20 Qatar Stars League (QSL) and 2019 AFC Champions League quarter-finals.
The Xavi-led reigning QSL champions are already in competition mode after their triumph over local rivals Al Duhail in the 2019 AFC Champions League Round of 16 and Sheikh Jassim Cup and looking to continue their fine start.
The 4-2 Round of 16 aggregate win over Al Duhail was followed by a 1-0 triumph in Saturday's Sheikh Jassim Cup and midfielder Ali Asad said their good early season form is a confidence booster for Al Sadd.
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“It is a good start to the season. This trophy (Sheikh Jassim Cup) will provide us with plenty of confidence as we approach the QSL and AFC Champions League matches,” said Asad.
His 13th minute strike ultimately proved the difference but Al Sadd were on top for most of the match as they laid an early marker on the defence of their QSL title.
They open their 2019-20 QSL campaign against newly-promoted Al Wakrah on Wednesday but it is the AFC Champions League which Al Sadd are focused on at this part of their campaign.
They face Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr in the quarter-finals with the Saudi Arabia side hosting the first leg in Riyadh on August 26. The return leg will be played in Doha on September 16.
Spain and Barcelona legend Xavi, in his post-match comments after the Sheikh Jassim Cup, said he was glad to have won his first title as Al Sadd head coach.
“I want to congratulate the players for their excellent displays, not just in this game but in the last three games we have played since the start of the season.
"I also want to congratulate the management and the fans, on winning the first title of the season. Also, I congratulate the coaching staff who worked a lot for this moment. We will now keep working hard to win more titles,” Xavi said.
The Sheikh Jassim Cup was the 70th major trophy Al Sadd have won in their illustrious history and the Doha-based club are now aiming to add the 2019 AFC Champions League trophy to their cabinet in a remarkable year where they will also feature in the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup on home soil in December.
They ended a six-year wait when they lifted the 2018-19 QSL title but their wait for an AFC Champions League title has been longer, with Al Sadd the last team from the West to have lifted the title in 2011.
Having hit the ground running, Al Sadd will be confident they will end this wait too.
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