Al Sadd up against Pakhtakor away


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Newly-crowned QNB Stars League champions Al Sadd resume their 2019 AFC Champions League Group D campaign with an away fixture against Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor on Tuesday, 9th April. The kick-off is at 17:00 at the Pakhtakor Central Stadium in Uzbek capital Tashkent.

Al Sadd lifted their record-extending 14th Qatar league crown last week with one round of action remaining. They took an unassailable lead over closest challengers Al Duhail following their 7-2 victory over Al Ahli, their 17th in the tournament.

The Wolves, semifinalists in 2018 AFC Champions League, are currently third in the standings, having opened their campaign with a 2-0 defeat against Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia before beating Iran’s Persepolis 1-0.

Al Sadd are on a high and that confidence should help them stand in good stead in Tashkent. The squad includes the likes of Meshaal Barsham, Pedro Miguel, Jung Woo-Young, Xavi Hernandez, Ali Asad, Hassan Al Haydous, Baghdad Bounedjah, Hamed Ismail, Tarek Salman, Boualem Khoukhi and Akram Afif.

First-choice goalkeeper Saad Al Dossari and left-back Abdulkarim Hassan, the best player in Asia, will be missing in action as they are recovering from injuries.

However, the return of Xavi from an injury layoff adds strength to the side.

Meanwhile, Marat Bikmaev scored the two goals that helped Pakhtakor claim the summit of Group D, drawing Persepolis 1-1 and beating Al Ahli 1-0.

Al Ahli are second in the group on three points and Persepolis have one.