(MENAFN- The Peninsula) fawad hussain |
Coach Juan Manuel Lillo has said Al Sadd are facing a difficult task in their quest for third consecutive QNB Stars League (QSL) title, particularly after a draw against leaders Al Duhail in their previous clash.
Al Duhail struck two stoppage time goals through Nam Tae-hee and Fernandez Federico to snatch a 2-2 draw against Al Sadd and maintain their top spot with 36 points – two points ahead of second-placed Al Arabi. Defending champions Al Sadd are seven points behind the leaders.
As the Wolves will take on Al Shamal in their Round 17 match at Grand Hamad Stadium today, Lillo has said his team will play all the remaining matches with an aim to collect full points.
“Even if we had won the last match (against Al Duhail), our chances would still be difficult because of the seven matches before the World Cup and then the defeat against Al Ahli. Now we know that the difficulty has increased and things have become complicated, but we are still committed to entering all matches with the goal of winning,” Al Sadd coach told a pre-match press conference yesterday.
“As we always say, every competitor has strengths, and we will try to take them into account and impose our style of play,” Lillo said of opponents Al Shamal.
Al Shamal, who had beaten Al Sadd 2-1 in the first leg, are placed ninth with 14 points.
Al Shamal coach Wesam Rizik said the Wolves will completely be a different side in the second leg.
“We have a tough task against a big team like Al Sadd, who are one of the strongest teams in the region. They have distinguished players both at the level of foreign professionals or nationals,” said Rizik.
“We hope to be on top of our readiness and change the image in which we appeared in the last match against Umm Salal,” he added.
In other match today, Al Arabi will take on bottom-placed Al Sailiya at Grand Hamad Stadium.
“Facing Al Sailiya is difficult especially since they are a team that wants to move away from the danger zone. The preparations are going on well and started after the last match against Al Gharafa,” Al Arabi coach Younes Ali said yesterday.
“We are well-prepared for the match, the atmosphere in the team is fine and we are able to surpass Al Sailiya. That requires focus and we must take advantage of opportunities,” he added.
Al Sailiya with 10 points are four points behind Umm Salal and Al Rayyan, with coach Sami Trabelsi hoping to avoid relegation.
“We are in a difficult situation, but we must have the hope of staying in the league until the last moment,” he said yesterday.
“We are well aware that Al Arabi are a distinguished team and one of the three best clubs this season. God-willing, we will be determined and focused and not make mistakes,” he added.
Today's third match will pit Al Gharafa against Umm Salal at Thani Bin Jassim Stadium.