(MENAFN - The Peninsula) AFC / The Peninsula
Xavi's coaching career got under way with a 1-1 draw against fellow Qatari giants Al Duhail in their AFC Champions League (ACL) Round of 16 first leg last Tuesday.
It is definitely a satisfactory result for the QNB Qatar Stars League (QSL) champions given that they return to Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium with an away goal under their belts.
When the two teams meet again in the return leg tomorrow, Xavi's impressive line-up of players is likely to have a clear edge over Rui Faria's men.
In arguably the toughest match to call of the Round 16, nearly all of Al Sadd's players have experience of winning the biggest tournaments.
While an impressive four of the 14 players who got game time for Al Duhail last week played in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 final against Japan, all seven of Al Sadd's local starters appeared against the East Asians.
Add to that the fact Baghdad Bounedjah recently scored the winning goal for Algeria in the 2019 African Cup of Nations final and that skipper Gabi captained the Atletico Madrid team that won a La Liga title ahead of Barcelona and Real Madrid before rounding off his career in the Spanish capital with the UEFA Europa League, then it is clear Al Sadd boast winners aplenty.
Then there's the head coach, Xavi, who is one of the most decorated players in world football having won almost every honour he has competed for. The AFC Champions League remains one that he has yet to get his hands on, something his team of champions could help rectify.
In the first leg, Al Duhail skipper Youssef Msakni marked his return to Al Duhail with a stunning goal to cancel out Akram Afif's opener as the two teams played out a 1-1 draw at the new Al Janoub Stadium.