Al Duhail, Al Sadd set to fight it out
Qatari giants Al Duhail and Al Sadd are all set to face off in their AFC Champions League Round of 16 first-leg match on Tuesday, 6th August. The kick-off is at the recently-opened Al Janoub Stadium, at 19:00 Doha time.
Al Duhail qualified for the knockout stage by finishing as runners-up (nine points) in Group C, behind Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal (13 points). Iran’s Esteghlal and the UAE’s Al Ain were the other teams in the group.
Al Sadd made it to the Round of 16 by topping Group D, that also consisted of Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli, Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor and Iran’s Persepolis. The Wolves ended their group-stage campaign with a loss to Persepolis, but still were on top with 10 points.
Al Duhail, coached by Portuguese Rui Faria, are holders of the Amir Cup, while Al Sadd are the reigning QNB Stars League champions.
The Red Knights, who had their pre-season camp in Portugal, will see the return of Tunisian Yousef Msakni after he was loaned out to Qatar-owned KAS Eupen in Belgium. The attacking midfielder had represented Al Duhail for long, playing a crucial part in their 2017-18 QNB Stars League triumph, before he suffered a knee injury towards the end of that season.
The signing of Iraqi striker Mohanad Ali has bolstered Al Duhail, who have the services of Bassam Al Rawi, Almeoz Ali, Karim Boudiaf, Mehdi Benatia, Luis Martin, Ali Afif and Asim Madibo among others.
On the other hand, Al Sadd will be playing their first competitive match under the tutelage of former captain and Spanish midfield great Xavi Hernandez, who replaced Portuguese Jesualdo Ferreira ahead of this season.
Al Sadd, who recently camped in Spain, will see South Korean playmaker Nam Tae-Hee, who donned the Al Duhail colours for seven seasons winning many titles, make his debut for them as Xavi moved to coaching.
They also have in their ranks the likes of Akram Afif, Baghdad Bounedjah, Hassan Al Haydous, Abdelkarim Hassan, Hamed Ismail, Jung Woo-Young and Pedro.