Al Sadd were outstanding, says Xavi
Doha: Al Sadd head coach Xavi expressed his delight after the Qatar Stars League champions sealed a place in the 2019 AFC Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday.
Al Sadd saw off the challenge of Qatar rivals Al Duhail, scoring a 3-1 win in the second leg of their Round of 16 tie to advance 4-2 on aggregate.
Strikes by Akram Afif, Abdelkarim Hassan and an own goal by Ahmed Yasser secured Al Sadd the win but Spain and Barcelona legend Xavi said it was a team effort that took Al Sadd to a quarter-final tie against Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr.
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“We are very happy to qualify for the quarter-finals. I am very happy with the team because they did an outstanding job.
"As I had said earlier, Al Duhail are one of the best teams in the Middle East with players who have played together for 7-8 years. So our achievement is amazing."
The win also sealed Al Sadd's place in the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup, which will be played in Qatar.
Xavi, who took charge of Al Sadd as head coach after having served them as a player for four seasons, said his team had shown consistency over both legs.
"Our players gave an unbelievable performance over the two games. At Al Wakrah in the first leg, we were the better side but today, we were only good in the first half."
"They made things very difficult for us in the second half. We created and missed chances but I have been working on a new philosophy with the team for the last three weeks.
"I am very happy that we have qualified, I am very happy for the players. Our work continues now, next up we have the Sheikh Jassim Cup match (the Qatar season opener against Al Duhail).”
As for the quarter-final clash with Al Nassr, Xavi said: “It will be a tough game against Al Nassr, we saw their game yesterday – they have excellent players but our aim will be to reach the semis.
"But now, the team is celebrating and we will then think about the Sheikh Jassim Cup, after that, the league and then, the AFC Champions League.”
Al Nassr will host the first leg on August 26 with the second leg three weeks later.
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