By Sports Reporter/Doha
Al Sadd hope to avoid the mistakes that saw them concede three goals against Al Ain when they clashed in the AFC Champions League on Tuesday.
The end result three days ago was a thrilling 3-3 draw but that left Al Sadd ruing a missed opportunity to grab three points after Boualem Khoukhi’s attempted headed clearance from close resulted in an own goal, allowing Al Ain to grab their first point and a great deal of hope going forward.
Al Sadd, however, remain in a better position to advance, and a win on Friday could put them within a point of the Round of 16 with two games still to play in Group D, should Al Nassr repeat their win over Sepahan in today’s late fixture.
“We created over 12 chances to score in the previous game, but we need to attack more and increase our efficiency in front of goal while focusing on defending better,” said Al Sadd head coach Xavi.
“We deserved to win the last match because we dominated but that game is in the past now. We need to create more chances and avoid making the mistakes we did.
“I love working under pressure, and players use the pressure to drive them to win but I don’t like players feeling pressured, I just want them to go out there and enjoy their game.”
Xavi said he was not surprised how well Al Ain played on Tuesday, emphasising that anything less than a victory could set them back further.
“Both teams have some star players with international experience who can change the course of a game, so we were not surprised by how well Al Ain played the last time around. We have to get the win.”
Al Sadd midfielder Guillerme Torres said the team knew they are in a crucial phase in the tournament.
“Our goal is to go as far as possible in this tournament. The points of the next match will be very important to us. Winning will take us closer to qualification for the next stage. With all respect to the opponents, we will go into the game looking for victory. Our goal is to win and control the game from the start.”
The Brazilian added: “I want to thank the Qatari people for the good reception. Everyone treats me well, and Al Sadd has the best players at the moment.
“Everyone works for the team and our goal is to win all the upcoming competitions. The advantage of playing at our stadium is not great, and the absence of the fans will not prevent us from achieving victory. We must work hard and do our best to get the win.”
Al Ain FC head coach Pedro Emanuel, meanwhile, has not lost hope despite the possibility of the team exiting the tournament if they lose to Al Sadd today.
“The first game was superb, and we played extremely well especially for a side that had not played a competitive match in six months,” said Emanuel.
“We know Al Sadd play an attacking game and have the ability to score and finish games off, but we knew how to deal with the game in order to get the result we wanted to get at the end. We respect Al Sadd, but we know we have everything we need to get the win.”
“We have two or three plans for every game, as a match goes by, we try to adapt to how things are coming along and that is what happened in the first game. We managed to get the draw at the end and pressed hard to get the winner.
“Expectations are much higher after the first game, but we have to be realistic and acknowledge the fact that our chances of progression are slim. Nonetheless, we will keep fighting till the end.”
Group C at Education City Stadium
6pm: Sharjah (UAE) vs Al Duhail (QAT)
9pm: Al Taawoun (KSA) vs Persepolis (IRN)
Group D at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium
6pm: Al Sadd (QAT) vs Al Ain (UAE)
9pm: Al Nassr (KSA) vs Sepahan (IRN)
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