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Al Sadd aim to cross Al Arabi hurdle to be assured of title

Al Sadd aim to cross Al Arabi hurdle to be assured of title

Tribune News Network
Doha
QNB Stars League season 2020-21 leaders Al Sadd need two more wins to emerge as champions but the Wolves are wary of Al Arabi whom they meet in the Week 17 clash of the league at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium at 7.15pm
on Monday.
Al Sadd currently are at the top with 44 points from 16 matches, Al Duhail are second with 31 points, while Qatar SC and Al Gharafa are third and fourth at 27 points followed by Al Rayyan at 25 points.
“If we win the next two, we will be the champions but it will be difficult because they (Al Arabi) have not suffered any defeat in the last seven rounds,” said Al Sadd coach Xavi Hernandez speaking to the media on eve of the match.
“Everyone will remember that Al Sadd suffered in the 2019-20 season Amir Cup final because Al Arabi defended well. Plus, they have not conceded many goals of late. They have improved a lot with the presence of very good players in the defence, such as Marc Muniesa and Ayoub Azzi. And then, they have new players, like Yousef Mskani, who has added value to the squad and all that will make it difficult for us,” explained Xavi.
“We are having good times and, God-willing, we can win the league in the next match if Al Duhail lose against Al Gharafa. Even otherwise, if we win the next two matches, we will be the champions. Our focus is now on the Al Arabi match and, as I said, it will be difficult because the opponents have not suffered any defeat in the last seven rounds. We are playing at our stadium and we want to create opportunities and play well.
“Now let us see the players’ condition to determine the squad to play, maybe we will do the rotation because some players participated in a lot of matches in a short period of time,” he added.
Xavi also expressed a speedy recovery to his Al Arabi counterpart Heimir Hallgrimsson. “I am sad for the Al Arabi coach, who is suffering from Coronavirus. I had also contracted the virus in the summer. This is life and I wish him a speedy recovery. I will miss him and I wish him all success because I respect him as a coach and as a human being,” said Xavi.
Meanwhile, Al Sadd player Nam Tae-Hee said, “We are close to winning the title and we want to win this match. We will work hard and prepare well for it. It is amazing that nearly 10 years have passed since I came to Qatar and this is the first time that I may be winning all titles in one season, thanks to the great collective work that everyone does every day, especially the administrative and technical staff.
“Of course, we are happy, but we must remind ourselves that we have not won anything so far and therefore we will continue to work. God-willing, we will win more.
We always try to improve our performance: Al Arabi Asst coach Alexanderson
Al Arabi assistant coach Alexanderson said the clash against Al Sadd is a good opportunity for his team to show their skills.
“We will definitely miss the presence of coach Hallgrimsson. We have prepared as usual and this is a good opportunity for the players to show their skills and also to shine and show their love for the group and the team.
“We will try to maintain the same rhythm as in the past weeks. Therefore, there will not be major changes to the team, but it will be evident in the absence of the coach, whom we will certainly miss and we hope he returns quickly to the team.
“Playing against Al Sadd will not be easy as they have outstanding players. They are the best in the league and closest to winning the title, and we know their strengths as well, so it will be a great match.
“If we continue to believe in our strengths and maintain our focus, we can defeat any team. We need to focus on ourselves,” said Alexanderson.
Facing Al Gharafa again a new challenge: Lamouchi
Ahead of their clash with Al Gharafa, Al Duhail coach Sabri Lamouchi said his team will have to rise to the challenge.
“After our 2021 Qatar Cup semi-final victory against Al Gharafa, our focus has been more on the recovery of our players and restoring their physical readiness in preparation for the next match against Al Gharafa, in which we have to make greater efforts in order to achieve victory.
“Our squad could witness a number of changes, but we must take into account the element of harmony and the need to maintain balance within the group. For me, I will count on the best 11 players to play this match. Facing Al Gharafa again is a new challenge.
“We will play all matches with full force and will continue to compete for all titles. Al Duhail are used to play for titles,” said Lamouchi.
Al Duhail player Ali Malolah Karami said, “I aspire to be in the starting line-up and to present my best levels to gain a distinguished position in the squad.”
We will fight it out: Al Kharaitiyat coach Wesam
Al Kharaitiyat coach Wesam Rizik said his side was ready for a fight against Al Rayyan. “We will fight it out till the last minute of the league to collect the maximum number of points in order to get out of the relegation zone. We are hopeful of our survival in the top flight as we target many points from the remaining matches,”
said Wesam.Today’s Matches
4.45pm: Al Gharafa vs Al Duhail (At Suhaim Bin Hamad Stadium)
7.15pm: Al Sadd vs
Al Arabi (At Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium)
7.15pm: Al Kharaitiyat vs Al Rayyan (At Suhaim Bin Hamad Stadium)

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