Al Sadd head coach Xavi Hernandez praised the performance of his side in their 3-0 victory against Sepahan FC in an AFC Champions League 2020 Group D tie at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium on Tuesday.
After a scoreless first half, a brace from Hassan al-Haydos after Akram Afif had opened the scoring early in the second period gave Qatar’s Al Sadd their first win of the competition, having played to a 2-2 draw with Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr on Matchday One.
Xavi said Al Sadd produced one of their best performances of the season on Tuesday and the victory was important because it was against a top team.
“The team was in their best condition and we had one of our best matches this season,” said Xavi. “We definitely deserved this victory.
“The win was against a strong and special team who are favourites to win the group. This victory shows that Al Sadd can go far in the competition.”
The 40-year-old Spaniard said his players struggled in the first half and had to be patient in order to break the deadlock.
“The match was not easy as the first half ended without goals,” he explained. “Our players, however, were patient and they concentrated on transforming their dominance into goals.
“I’m satisfied with what they showed and I always expect such performances from them. I’m happy with what we achieved and hopefully we can continue with the same in the next matches.”
Sepahan FC head coach Amir Ghalenoei said crucial mistakes helped Al Sadd win with such big score.
“We knew that our opponents are strong and the match would be very difficult but we never expected such a defeat. We performed well in the first half but we failed to capitalise on our chances.”
“The injury to Soroosh Rafiei affected us and we also made some mistakes,” added the 56-year-old coach. “We lost against a strong team but the most important thing for me is to recover for the next matches.”
Islamic Republic of Iran’s Sepahan, who opened their campaign with a 4-0 win over UAE’s Al Ain FC, play Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr next on March 3 while Al Sadd face Al Ain on the same day.
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