By Sports Reporter/Doha
Al Sadd coach Xavi Hernandez has recovered from coronavirus infection and will be in charge for his side’s QNB Stars League match against Al Ahli at the Al Janoub Stadium Monday. Xavi had tested positive for the Covid-19 and had to miss out on his side’s 2-1 win over Al Khor 2-1 last week.
Having recovered since then, Xavi said he was happy to be back with Sadd after completing his mandatory quarantine period. “I am happy to be back guiding my team after completing my quarantine. I thank the players for their good performance in the last match against Al Khor despite the fact that we faced an organised side,” the Barcelona and Spain midfield great said.
Xavi said it was not a pleasant experience to watch his side in action from the comforts of his hotel room, but was delighted with his side’s performance. “Al Khor match was difficult for me while I was watching it from the hotel and not the stadium. I am satisfied with the team, the result was close to a draw, but we managed to win and it is very important at this stage, especially as we play after the competition was stopped for many months,” he said.
Al Sadd have not played to their potential and are third in the table with 35 points, 11 behind leaders Duhail. The Wolves have uncharacteristically lost five matches this season, which has dented their title hopes.
Xavi conceded that retaining the title would be next to impossible, but wanted his team to win all the remaining four matches. “We will face Al Ahli and we have to win, there are four finals left for us. Certainly, winning the league title is very difficult now, but Al Sadd always plays to win. The last four games are finals for us and we will do our best to achieve victories,” he said,
“Al Ahli want to avoid a bad result because they are among the clubs in the danger zone, we also cannot lose points because our ambition is to finish the season in second place or achieve the league title, so we want victory against Al Ahli. On paper, we are stronger, but we have to show this strength on the field as well, especially because we are training well and I am completely satisfied with the level of players in training and also in the last game,” added Xavi.
Meanwhile, Al Ahli will look to put behind their disappointment of losing to 1-3 to Al Shahania in Week 18. Al Ahli are in eighth position with 19 points. They were beaten 2-1 by Sadd in the first leg.
Al Ahli coach Nebojsa Jovovic said his team will try and not repeat the mistakes they did against bottom-placed Shahania. “I will not look for excuses in the upcoming games. We know our team’s problems during the match against Al Shahania,” he said
“Sadd are a strong team and have distinguished players who represent the national team. We respect them a lot, but that does not mean we will be pushovers. Our aim to achieve a positive result. After the Al Shahania match, there was no choice but to work to correct mistakes. We have a good group of players and I have big confidence in them and their abilities in order to achieve the required result. Last week, I worked on correcting the mistakes that we committed against Al Shahania. I asked the players to continue working to provide the best in the next stage,” added Nebojsa.
In another match Monday, Qatar SC face Umm Salal at the Al Sadd Stadium. Qatar SC, who went down fighting 1-2 to Al Rayyan after taking the lead last week, are ninth with 17 points. Coached by former Qatar international midfielder Wesam Rizik, Qatar SC are still in danger zone and will eye full points.
Umm Salal are also facing relegation threat, but are in good spirits after snatching a point from league leaders Al Duhail last week.
The draw against Duhail had helped Umm Salal climb to 10th spot from 11th with 15 points. The Orange Fortress had lost 0-5 to Qatar SC in the first leg.
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