(MENAFN - The Peninsula) By Rizwan Rehmat / The Peninsula
QARSHI, Uzbekistan: Doha giants Al Sadd will be looking to score goals to put pressure on hosts Nasaf in their AFC Champions League clash at Qarshi Markaziy Stadium today.
Group C leaders and 2011 Asian champions, Al Sadd in their last regional clash hammered Persepolis 3-1 to underline their intentions in this year's championship.
'We are going to play a crucial game in the AFC Champions League, Al Sadd coach Jesualdo Ferreira said yesterday.
'Everyone in the team knows how important this game is and how important it is to win because the points could get us closer to the next stage of the competition, the veteran Portuguese coach added.
'We are on top of our group after two games. We have one objective and that is to keep our journey going with the same intensity.
'Our mentality is to always score goals. In the Champions League, there are matches both home and away, and so there are different factors to think about but this won't change our philosophy, he said.
When asked to name the strongest team in Group C, Ferreira snapped back by saying: 'Al Sadd have won the Asian title twice and we are not new to the competition. Nasaf are an excellent side, whose league has started just three weeks ago while ours is almost at its end. So, it is difficult to say which is the strongest team.
He added: 'Moreover, this is not the right time to be talking about the strongest team.
Ferreira said his team was raring to go for today's clash.
'It is a great honour to be here in Uzbekistan. I am happy with the weather and it's a beautiful country. The match venue is excellent as well, Al Sadd coach said.
Ferreira said Al Sadd miss two key players in Xavi and Morteza Pouraliganji but his side has decent bench strength to mount a serious challenge at winning today's match.
'Nasaf are a strong side that is playing at home. Al Sadd players know about the difficulty of the fixture, Ferreira said.
As for his team's injury problems, Ferreira told reporters yesterday: 'There are important players who are missing Xavi and Morteza Pouraliganji, who are both injured. This is how football is but we will play the game with 11 fit players who are ready to give their best. Ferreira added: 'The next two weeks are crucial for us, as we have two back-to-back games against Nasaf, the results of which will determine the future of our campaign.
When asked about his team's loss to Al Duhail in the QNB Stars League, Ferreira replied: 'I was hoping to win the league and the AFC Champions League as well but the league is now beyond our reach.
Al Sadd will be looking to feared Algerian striker Baghdad Bounedjah who has managed to score four goals in their two matches so far. A win today will see Al Sadd posting their third successive win, a feat they achieved in 2006. Hosts Nasaf will be looking at their second successive home win in Group C following their 1-0 win over Al Wasl two weeks ago. Igor Golban headed in the only goal of the game two weeks ago as Nasaf bounced back from their opening-day defeat to Persepolis.
History favours Al Sadd as Nasaf have come up against Qatari opposition four times but remain winless.