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Preview - Group D: Al Wehdat out to derail Al Nassr's AFC Champions League ambitions

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr must produce their best once again when they play Al Wehdat of Jordan on Monday's Matchday Five if they are to maintain a grip on top spot in Group D of the 2021 AFC Champions League. 

Al Nassr lead the group with eight points, one ahead of Qatar's Al Sadd while Al Wehdat are at the bottom of the standings with a solitary point and out of the running for the Round of 16. Foolad Khouzestan FC, meanwhile, are third on five points and still in the running to advance.

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Al Wehdat held 2020 AFC Champions League semi-finalists Al Nassr 0-0 on Matchday One but the Saudi Pro League side then produced their best to defeat Al Sadd 3-1 as newly-appointed head coach Mano Menezes made his mark.

Al Nassr had to come from behind to salvage a 1-1 draw with Foolad but showed their best again in the return fixture, winning 2-0 thanks to goals from Abdulfattah Asiri and 2020 Golden Boot winner Abderrazak Hamdallah.

Menezes, having settled nicely into the team, will be confident Al Nassr can see off Al Wehdat before what could well be a top-of-the-table clash against Al Sadd on Matchday Six on Thursday.

"The match will be difficult as the competition in the group is now between three teams who are close, but we prepare the team for each match with the same spirit and determination," said Menezes.

"The wins in the previous matches were due to small details, and we will only focus on ourselves. We've studied Al Wehdat, and although I wasn't with the team during the first match, I know that they play with big numbers in defence, but we will try to do our best to build on the attacks and get past them. But we should be careful of Al Wehdat's reaction after they lost hope to qualify.

"We have the experience to deal with issues and we know that we still have a long way to go, and we still have work to do. Tomorrow's match is very important if we want to stay on top of the group."

2021 AFC Champions League: Al Wehdat 0-0 Al Nassr

Al Wehdat's debut season has seen mixed returns with the Jordan champions opening with the draw against Al Nassr before suffering a 1-0 defeat to Foolad.

Al Sadd also proved to be too strong for Al Wehdat as they succumbed to back-to-back defeats (3-1, 2-0) but head coach Abdullah Abu Zema has said the experience of playing Asia's top sides can only benefit his players and he will expect total effort against Al Nassr.

"We drew with Al Nassr in the previous match, but this time, things are different, as this is a very important match for them, and they will play with full focus," Zema said.

"We want to get the first win for us in this competition. We've produced good performances in the previous matches, but we were not lucky.

"Our preparations have been going well for this match, and there are no injuries among the players, we will only miss Yazan Al Arab who is suspended.

"Al Nassr are a big team and it is not easy to play with an open style against them, as they have good attacking abilities with players who can score from any chance. If we open against them we will make it very difficult for ourselves."

Al Nassr (KSA) v Al Wehdat (JOR)
Venue: King Saud University Stadium, Riyadh
Kick-off: Monday, 21:00 hours (UTC+3)

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