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GREAT EXPECTATIONS

GREAT EXPECTATIONS


Mardikian, Hamroun to battle it out for Al Arabi and Al Sadd in Qatar Derby
QSL.com
Doha
Al Arabi's Syrian star Mardek Mardikian and Al Sadd's Algerian stalwart Jugurtha Hamroun spoke to QSL Online about their QNB Stars League Round 5 match between the two sides dubbed as Qatar Derby scheduled for Friday at the Arabi Stadium.
Both are key players for their teams in this high-profile encounter. They have great skills, underlined by their performances and statistics.
What matters most is the show on field on a given day, but Mardikian believes in keeping his confidence up despite the challenges."It's a difficult contest, but we're up to the challenge and will strive for a positive result. There are no favourites in derbies. The team with better fitness and technique will win the game," said the Syrian.
About the predictions on paper that that Al Sadd have better chances to win, Mardikian commented,"It's quite normal in view of their results so far in the league. Still, Al Arabi are a big name. The loss to Umm Salal in our previous match was a bit hard to digest. We have to put behind that disappointment and move forward.
"We haven't been able to achieve the desired results as the team is yet to function as a cohesive unit because 90 per cent of it was changed this season.
"I would love to fight alongside my teammates to enhance the reputation of Al Arabi. I also seek more support from our fans. I'm well aware of the pressure to perform. With increased backing from our supporters, we can lift our game and thereby the club's reputation," he added.
His counterpart, Hamroun too felt that there is not much to differentiate between the two teams, no matter their current standings but agreed that the expectations were high.
"It'll certainly be a difficult game mainly because of the great expectations of all stakeholders. No matter the big difference in the teams' standings, a derby is a derby. We've to stay focused and work hard throughout the game, taking into consideration Al Arabi will be desperate to get a positive result and thus improve their position. At the same time, we'll also be keen to continue our excellent run," said Hamroun.
"We've plenty of experienced players to go for full points. Nevertheless, we don't expect it to be as easy as we had against Al Arabi in our second-phase match last season when Al Sadd won by a whopping margin.
"I still feel our performance needs improvement even though we've had a good start to our league campaign this season. Right from the pre-season preparatory camp, our main goal is to compete for titles," he added.
Hamroun also thanked Al Sadd fans for their unmatched support from time to time.

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