By Sports Reporter/Doha
Last season’s Qatar Stars League champions Lekhwiya take on Al Sadd at the latter’s den today in a battle for the Qatar Cup places.
Al Sadd are currently in fourth place with 39 points, only two points behind rivals Lekhwiya. A win tonight could help The Wolfs leap into the second spot in the league.
Jesualdo Ferrieira, Al Sadd’s head coach is looking forward to spectacle, which will excite the fans. “We will face the champions of the last season in a tough game. I hope the fans will come and join us. Both teams have the highest level of professionalism in the league,” Ferrieira said
He also highlighted the fact that big games like these are vital for the league. “When big teams play big matches the level of the league will improve and I hope this game will exceed expectation for all the fans,” added the Portuguese tactician.
Preparations for Al Sadd are on a high as Ferreira wants his players to analyse Lekhwiya’s last AFC Champions League game against Al Nassr. “I saw the goals for Lekhwiya and I will talk to the players. We know that Lekhwiya players are tired after their Champions League game but they have a good bench,” said the 69-year-old.
Speaking about Al Sadd’s last couple of games Ferreira said, “In the last game we drew against Al Gharafa but we have improved. We had a good game against Al Jazeera in the champions league and I believe the more our players play with each other, the better we will become.”
Lekhwiya head coach Djamel Belmadi said it will be a difficult clash. “Both sides are looking to keep up form, and will both be fighting for the points.”
Belmadi also noted that he is personally relishing the clash against the current Emir Cup winners; “For me I love these games, they are tough and full of excitement.”
Belmadi vowed that fans will see a footballing spectacular. “Despite the fact the timing of this game is very tight for us after our strong match in the AFC Champions League last night against Al Nasr nevertheless we will put our best efforts into the game, the game will be an amazing spectacle for the fans to enjoy.”
Al Rayyan face El Jaish
In another match, newly-crowned champions Al Rayyan take on third-placed El Jaish as part of a titanic double header between the QSL’s top 4 sides.
El Jaish are third in the table with forty points, only one point behind second-placed Lekhwiya. The Soldiers have a packed schedule this month as they just defeated Uzbekistan’s Nasf on Wednesday and will strap on their boots once again as they face Al Rayyan in the Qatar Stars League.
Sabri Lamouchi, the head coach of El Jaish is counting on his team to put a good performance against Rayyan after a disappointing loss to Al Arabi last week, “Facing Al Rayyan means you’re facing the champions. We played in the AFC Champions League and now we need to focus on the QSL. We play many games in a small period. We didn’t have luck in our last game and we are working hard to make things go in our favor.”
“We like to give young players chances. Salah Al Yahri played in our last game and yesterday we played well with 2 young players,” added the Frenchman regarding the importance of youth talent at Jaish.
El Jaish have played eight games in the month and this makes Lamouchi change his teams around so that the players remain fresh, “It will be a good game and an open game. Al Rayyan are hungry for this game and the reason I change my players around is because I don’t want them to be tired,” added the 44-year-old.
Al Rayyan, the champions with games to spare will use this match as preparation for the upcoming Emir Cup.The Lions had a stalemate in their last game against Qatar Sports Club. Head Coach, Jorge Fossati claims that his team is not relaxing even after winning the title, “In the last game each player was covering more than ten kilometers and one player even covered thirteen. This is not a team that is relaxing. This is a normal work rate for our players and it rivals European leagues.”
Fossati is full of praise for El Jaish’s AFC champions league exploits, “El Jaish beat Al Ain who are one of the best teams in the region. There is nothing easy in the QSL. Our league is on the same level as Saudi and Emirates. It’s time for supporters in Qatar to see the value of this league and come to the stadiums to watch the games,” added the Uruguayan tactician.
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