Al Sadd, Al Duhail shift gears as showdown nears
Kuala Lumpur: Qatar clubs Al Sadd and Al Duhail are picking up the pace ahead of their 2019 AFC Champions League Round of 16 tie in August.
While Al Duhail have been based in the Portuguese city of Portimao since July 1, Al Sadd reported for training in Doha on July 7.
Qatari champions Al Sadd will have a new head coach in the dugout with Spain and Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez having been announced as the man in charge at the end of the 2018-19 season.
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Al Sadd kicked off their preparations without Saad al Sheeb, Tareq Salman, Akram Afif, Hamed Ismail, Hassan Al Haydos, Salem Al Hajri and Abdelkarim Hassan as they have been given additional time off after featuring in Qatar's 2019 Copa America campaign.
Al Sadd will head to Barcelona on Sunday for a 16-day training stint.
The first leg of their 2019 AFC Champions League Round of 16 tie will be on August 6 at the iconic Al Janoub Stadium with the return tie a week later.
The winners will face either Al Nassr of Saudi Arabia or Al Wahda of the UAE in the quarter-finals.
Al Duhail, meanwhile, will play the first of their five friendly matches in Portugal against the Portimonese second team later on Wednesday.
That will be followed by a tie against Louletano on Sunday.
Also lined up are friendlies against Farense, Maritimo and the senior Portimonense side.
The 2019-20 Qatar Stars League kicks off on with the curtain raiser Sheikh Jassim Cup - featuring Al Sadd and Al Duhail - on August 17.
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