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Menezes: Clinching AFC Champions League last 16 spot a huge boost for Al Nassr


Riyadh: Head coach Mano Menezes said Al Nassr advancing to the 2021 AFC Champions League Round of 16 is a big morale booster for the Saudi Pro League side. 

Al Nassr defeated Qatar's Al Sadd 2-1 in their final Group D match on Thursday, with goals by Abderrazak Hamdallah and Abdulelah Al Amri ensuring Menezes team finished top with 11 points as the 2020 AFC Champions League semi-finalists shrugged off their indifferent domestic form to advance to the knockout stage of the 2021 edition.

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“The draw pit us against Al Sadd in the last decisive match but we managed to snatch the ticket with our heads held high,” said Menezes.

“When you play against teams who play good football, you can achieve good results. We played against an organised side and such matches are more tactical.”

"For me, the most important thing is that the players can understand the tactics well and my job is to make the players give their best.

“Qualifying from the group will give us more confidence in the next stage and it will help us a lot also in our remaining matches in the local league,” said Menezes.

2021 AFC Champions League: Al Sadd SC 1-2 Al Nassr

Al Sadd assistant coach Sergio Alegre was left disappointed with the result, with the Qatar champions now having to ensure a nervous wait to see if they can advance as one of the best three runners-up.

“We are disappointed and feel sad because we wanted to finish on top of the group but we lost the match,” said Alegre.

“We went into the match to get the three points. It was normal for the players and the technical staff to be enthusiastic and stressed due to the pressure of the match and this is part of football.

“We played very well in the first 20 minutes but after we conceded the opening goal, the general performance of the team was affected."

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