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Al Sadd must fight until the end, says Xavi

Riyadh: Al Sadd SC head coach Xavi Hernandez remains hopeful of continuing their 2019 AFC Champions League campaign, despite a 2-1 defeat to Al Nassr in the first leg of the quarter-final.

Ali Asad had given the Qataris a 21st minute lead but it was countered by Abdulrahman Al Dossari’s close range strike a minute from the break, before Giuliano sealed the win for Al Nassr with a fine header in the 72nd minute on Tuesday.

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The Spain and Barcelona legend admitted that he was unsatisfied with his side’s showing in the first half, but even after making some changes going into the second half, Giuliano’s goal overwhelmed Al Sadd.

“The reason (for the defeat) was that Al Nassr are a strong team, and we were not up to the task. We did not play good football, like we did recently,” said Xavi.

Quarter-final 1st Leg: Al Nassr vs Al Sadd

“We did not control the ball in the required manner. We did not have possession and I’m not happy at all with the performance.

“In the second half, the two teams matched each other. We managed to impose ourselves on the game but when we did that, we conceded the second goal and this affected us a lot.”

Al Sadd will now host the second leg in Doha’s Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium on September 16, and Xavi was firm that his charges will need to head into the tie with a never-say-die attitude and elevate their performance.

“The second leg in Doha will be a lot different. We must prepare for it well to maintain our chances of progressing to the semi-finals."

“We lost (this game) but we haven’t lost out on progression or on the title.

“I spoke with the players about that in the dressing room that there is another match to play in Doha and we have a chance to qualify, and that we must fight until the last moment.”

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