Qatari clubs upbeat ahead of AFC Champions League Round 2
QNB Stars League clubs Al Gharafa, Al Duhail, Al Sadd and Al Rayyan are preparing for the second round of AFC Champions League, to be played on Monday and Tuesday.
Al Gharafa will host Iranian team Tractor Sazi in Group D (18:00), while Al Duhail play with the UAE’s Al Wahda in Abu Dhabi the same day in Group B (17:50).
On Tuesday, Al Sadd will host Iran’s Persepolis in Group C (18:30), while Al Rayyan will be away against Al Ain in Group D (18:10).
Qatar’s representatives had pit up and strong performances in the first round and would look to build on them on Match Day 2.
Al Gharafa, coached by Turk Bulent Uygun, seek to their first win when they play host to Tractor Sazi and thereby compensate for their 2-3 loss the UAE’s Al Jazira.
A victory will be help The Cheetahs stand in good stead in their qualification bid for the knockout phase.
At the same time, Tractor Sazi would also try to make up for their 0-1 defeat at the hands of Al Ahli.
Al Gharafa are third in the standings.
QNB Stars League leaders Al Duhail would be keen to extend their winning streak at the continental level too when they take on Al Wahda. The Red Knights had defeated Iran’s Zob Ahan 3-1 in Doha.
However, Al Duhail’s task would be difficult given that Al Wahda had lost to Uzbekistan’s Lokomotiv Tashkent 0-5 in the first round.
Al Duhail, trained by Algerian Djamel Belmadi, are in good form, as was evident from their 5-0 victory over Umm Salal in Week 17 of the QNB Stars League.
Al Duhail are second in Group B with three points.
Al Sadd will be hungry for victory when they host Persepolis. The Wolves had beaten Al Wasl 2-1 in Dubai last week. And one more victory will greatly boost their hopes of advancing to the next stage of the competition.
Iranian league champions Persepolis had also won, 3-0 against Nasaf.
Al Sadd are in great form, defeating Al Arabi 5-1 in the Qatar Derby last week and are second in the QNB Stars League table with 43 points, just two behind Al Duhail.
Al Sadd, under Portuguese Jesualdo Ferreira, are second in Group C with three points.
Al Rayyan had drawn 2-2 with Iran’s Esteghlal in the first round and are second in Group D. The Lions now face Al Ain, who had drawn goalless with Al Hilal.
Al Rayyan, coached by Dane Michael Laudrup, will be eager to collect full points from this outing as it will boost the morale of their players, especially after their 2-2 draw with Al Sailiya in Week 17 of the QNB Stars League that practically dashed their title hopes.