Hopes high for Al Sadd and Al Duhail


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Qatar’s Al Sadd and Al Duhail are looking forward to their AFC Champions League Round of 16 second-leg matches with great hope as what await them are quarterfinal berths.

Al Sadd will play against Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah on Monday (kick-off 20:40), while Al Duhail will welcome Al Ain on Tuesday (kick-off 18:30).

Al Sadd face tough task

Al Sadd, who made it to the Round of 16 as runners-up from Group C, may not have it easy in Jeddah despite winning their first-leg game 2-1.

The Wolves will have to lift their game to overcome the goal they conceded at home.

Al Ahli had stormed into the Round of 16 as Group A winners with 14 points.

Al Sadd had won the premier continental club competition in 1988 and 2011, and will be keen to dominate the scene in Asia again.

Al Sadd’s Portuguese coach Jesualdo Ferreira said, “It was crucial that we not concede a goal. We made things difficult for ourselves by conceding. I didn’t like our defending. We could’ve scored five goals but instead we were punished by conceding a goal.

“Al Ahli will be a tough side to play in front of their fans, especially as they need just one goal to qualify. This is a tough task for us.”

Al Duhail should have it easy

Al Duhail are keen to extend their good form to the continental level. They have completed a domestic double by winning the QNB Stars League and Qatar Cup.

And they are in for a treble by reaching the Emir’s Cup final, beating Al Sadd in the semifinal.

The Red Knights qualified for the AFC Champions League Round of 16 with an all-win record from Group B, the only team to do so in the preliminary stage this year.

Al Duhail had almost made it to the quarterfinal stage with their 4-2 first-leg victory over Al Ain, who reached the Round of 16 as runners-up from Group D, at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium last week.

Al Duhail will miss their regular captain and attacking midfielder Youssef Msakni, who recently underwent a cruciate ligament knee surgery in the US.

Al Duhail’s Algerian coach Djamel Belmadi said, “We’re yet to advance to the quarterfinals as the second leg is yet to be played. Al Ain will do their best and we will’ve to remain focused and work harder than before to secure victory.”