Al Sadd will target a win when they face hosts FC Nasaf in Group B of the AFC Champions League 2023/24 on Monday.
Al Sadd are expecting a tense battle as the Uzbek club already have three points from Matchday One and another win will firmly establish them at the top of the standings.
FC Nasaf, who defeated Olympic 3-1 in the Uzbekistan Super League on Thursday to sit fourth in the standings, enjoyed a dream start to their continental campaign after a 1-0 win over Jordan’s Al Faisaly on Matchday One. What made the victory even more impressive was that it was achieved on Al Faisaly’s soil and the 2011 AFC Cup winners will carry that confidence into the tie against Al Sadd.
Al Sadd, AFC Champions League winners the same year FC Nasaf won the AFC Cup, will be desperate to lay their hands on the three points after being held to a goalless draw by UAE’s Sharjah FC two weeks ago.
Al Sadd, who defeated Al Gharafa 4-0 on Thursday to go top of the Qatar Stars League on Thursday, know they can’t afford to drop more points if they are to avoid missing out on the knockout stage of the AFC Champions League for a third consecutive season.
Al Sadd coach Bruno Miguel said on Sunday Nasaf remained a well-organised team with good players.
Speaking about the match against Nasaf, Miguel said on Sunday: “We are expecting a difficult match as always. Nasaf is a well-organised team with good players, and we are expecting a very tough match.” After sharing that he had visited Uzbekistan before, Miguel said, “This is a very clean and beautiful country. About the city, we did not have any time to visit places because we arrived on Sunday and we have to train and prepare for the game.”
Acknowledging some problems with missing players, he affirmed, “The available players will always give their best. We trust the players that we have.”
As for the different playing styles of the two teams, Miguel noted: “Nasaf has two points more than us, so that may affect the way they approach this game. But I think both teams will have the same mentality. The goal is always to win the game.”
Reflecting on the draw against Sharjah, he stated: “We controlled the whole match and did not give them any chances to score. We also missed a penalty. It was a draw against a very tough team, but we deserved to win the game.”
Regarding the group’s competitiveness, Miguel said: “There are no weak teams. This is the Champions League, and almost all teams are balanced and well-organised.”
Anticipating Nasaf’s approach, he said, “We are expecting a team that is organized in all aspects and will try to recover the ball in advanced areas. They have focused more on the defensive aspects in recent games.
“Usually, when teams play against Al Sadd, they always try to deny space for us to move. I think they will have a defensive approach, but let’s see tomorrow to know for sure.”
Avoiding specific comments on players, Miguel highlighted Nasaf’s strength, saying: “Nasaf’s strength is in the collective unit.”
Asked about Uzbek football, the coach had words of praise, saying, “I think they have invested a lot in football, and I like the performances I have seen in their national teams. It looks like they have a bright future.”
Al Duhail to face Persepolis
in Group E clash todayAl Duhail SC and Persepolis FC will be seeking full points when they face off in Group E of the AFC Champions League™ 2023/24 today.
Al Duhail had to settle for a share of the spoils with Tajikistan’s FC Istiklol on Matchday One while Persepolis were beaten by Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad.
Al Duhail, who made the AFC Champions League semi-finals for the first time last season, couldn’t break down Istiklol despite having 71 percent possession in their opener in Dushanbe.
They ended the match without a single shot on target from nine attempts and the Qatar Stars League champions will be desperate to have more potency against Persepolis.
Persepolis found it equally tough in their opener against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr, not managing a single shot on target at the Azadi Stadium. AFC Champions League runners-up in 2018 and 2020, the Islamic Republic of Iran champions must find their scoring boots if they are to take the points on Monday.
Today’s fixturesFC Nasaf (UZB) vs Al Sadd SC (QAT)
Venue: Markaziy Stadium
Kick-off: 21:00 (UTC+5)
Al Duhail SC (QAT) v Persepolis FC (IRN)
Venue: Abdullah Bin Khalifa
Kick-off: 21:00 (UTC+3)
Al Duhail’s defender Assim Madibo during a training session in Doha on Sunday.
Al Sadd players and backroom staff during a training session in Namangan, Uzbekistan.
Al Sadd coach Bruno Miguel addresses a press conference in Namangan on Sunday.