Qatar Clasico: Tactical battle to come to fore
The tactical battle between coaches Xavi Hernandez (Al Sadd) and Diego Aguirre (Al Rayyan) will come to the fore when Al Sadd and Al Rayyan face off in their 2019-20 QNB Stars League Week 17 match (Qatar Clasico) on Saturday, 7th March.
Uruguayan Aguirre is looking forward to build on their victory over Al Ahli last week and also to repeat their victory (4-2) over Al Sadd in the first-leg, whereas Xavi will be more keen to win and thus get Al Sadd’s title campaign back on track as they had dropped four valuable points in the last two rounds after being held by Umm Salal and Al Arabi.
Aguirre was back as Al Rayyan coach this season, having earlier managed them for two seasons starting in 2011. He helped The Lions to Amir Cup triumph in 2013.
Aguirre, who has also coached Al Gharafa for one season, is a well-known coach in South America and has guided several clubs.
During his playing career, he represented a number of clubs, including River Plate, Fiorentina, Ourense, Olympiacos, Internacional and Sao Paulo.
Under Aguirre, Al Rayyan have been doing well in the league. The Lions are currently second in the table with 35 points (10 wins, five draws and one defeat).
Spaniard Xavi is having his first coaching experience after retiring as a player at the end of 2018-19 season with Al Sadd. He was one of the well-known midfielders in the world for many years and will be noted as one of the greatest playmakers in history.
His career was full of success with Barcelona, where he joined at the age of 11, winning many titles especially in Spain and Europe.
Xavi also has the rare distinction of winning the FIFA World Cup in 2010 and European Championship in 2008 as well as 2012.
In 2015, he moved to Al Sadd, where he won the Qatar League, Amir Cup and Qatar Cup as a player.
This season, Xavi helped The Wolves lift the season-opening Sheikh Jassim Cup as well as 2020 Qatar Cup, defeating Al Duhail on both occasions.
Al Sadd are presently third in the league with 32 points (10 victories, two draws and four defeats).
Al Rayyan and Al Sadd jointly have the best goal difference (+19), one more than leaders Al Duhail.
This is the third time that Al Rayyan and Al Sadd are playing against each other this season, with the latter winning 4-1 in the 2020 Qatar Cup semifinal.