By Sports Reporter /Doha
Xavi Hernandez’s Al Sadd will be looking to earn all three points as they seek to keep the pressure on table-toppers Al Duhail and second-placed Al Rayyan in their Week 21 tie against Qatar SC today.
The kick-off will be at 7:30pm at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium.
But the Spanish legend reckons it wouldn’t be as straightforward for his team, despite coming off a 1-0 win over Duhail in Week 20, given that Qatar SC are not only fighting relegation but also that they had beaten Al Sadd 3-0 in the first leg this season.
“I am very happy with the victory over Al Duhail and I think that during the last six matches against Al Duhail, we had four wins, one draw and a loss, and this means we have the ability to beat all teams,” Xavi said during the pre-match press conference.
“I am also very happy with the team’s performance and everyone made great efforts. We played collectively with fighting spirit and our attack was very excellent from the start of the match till the 60th or 70th minute. We may face Al Duhail in the AFC Champions League as well, so I’m very happy.
“The game against Qatar SC will be very difficult. As you know, we had lost in the first leg. The match is very important for us because we seek to increase pressure on Al Duhail and Al Rayyan.
“We seek to gain three points, but it will be very difficult because Qatar SC are still in the danger zone and therefore they will be in fighting mood. They are an organised team under Wesam Rizik.
“We are progressing for the better and we are going through a good period after winning the last three matches. It is very important for me to watch the team play with a winning mentality. The hat-trick of victories was not easy and these results were a motivation for us and we have confidence in our ability. We still have a chance to win the league title even if it is remote,” added Xavi.
Qatar SC have earned two points from their draws recently against Umm Salal and Al Shahania, but need more to get out of the danger zone.
“In football, we should always prepare at the best level to achieve the desired results, and we must attach required importance to the remaining points on offer even though we played difficult matches recently. We must continue and play with a winning mentality and do everything we can to win,” Qatar SC goalkeeping coach Wesner said.
At Al Janoub Stadium, sixth-placed Al Sailiya face fifth-placed Al Arabi at 4pm. Both the teams lost out on the opportunity to finish fourth in the league after last round’s results — Sami Trabelsi-coached Sailiya losing to Rayyan 0-1 and Heimir Hallgrimsson-trained Arabi 1-2 to Al Wakrah.
“And about playing for the fifth place, I spoke to the players after our last game. I think we have to keep playing well, regardless of what happens on the field. We must focus on things that we can control and not on things we cannot control. We must stop feeling sorry for ourselves and keep working, trying to improve everything every day,” said Hallgrimsson.
“Both teams are equal, and did not deserve to be outside the top-four bracket. Both were unlucky. We will play our usual game. We prepared for the game normally because there is less time between the matches,” said Trabelsi.
Later at Al Janoub Stadium, Al Ahli face Al Wakrah at 7:30pm.
Eighth-placed Al Ahli, coached by Nebojsa Jovovic, had lost in Weeks 18 and 19 to Al Shahania and Al Sadd respectively before pulling off a 1-1 draw against Umm Salal in the previous round. They will be keen to get back to winning ways.
Marquez Lopez-coached Al Wakrah are placed seventh with 24 points. Al Wakrah, playing in the top flight after a gap of two seasons, are coming off a 2-1 victory over Al Arabi.
4pm: Al Sailiya vs Al Arabi, Al Janoub Stadium
7:30pm: Al Ahli vs Al Wakrah, Al Janoub Stadium
7:30pm: Qatar SC vs Al Sadd, Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium
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