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Preview - Group D: No room for error for Al Sadd, Al Wehdat in AFC Champions League clash


Riyadh: Qatar’s Al Sadd SC and Al Wehdat of Jordan will be vying for their first win in Group D of the 2021 AFC Champions League when they clash at the King Fahd International Stadium on Tuesday.

Both teams have just one point to their names after two matches, and victory is a must in their bid to advance to the Round of 16, with only the group winners assured of a place.

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Al Sadd came into the 2021 AFC Champions League having won the Qatar Stars League unbeaten but have struggled in Group D, having had to claw back to salvage a 1-1 draw with Foolad Khouzestan on Matchday One, before suffering a 3-1 defeat to Al Nassr on Saturday.

While Al Sadd have proven that they have no issues in creating goal opportunities, head coach Xavi will remind his players they have to be more clinical upfront and resolute in defence, with Al Nassr having punished them with speedy counter-attacks when the score was 1-1.

2021 AFC Champions League: Al Nassr FC 3-1 Al Sadd SC

"Now we have a chance to get the first win and get three points, but we will be facing a difficult team, who are strong in defence and have good physical abilities," said Xavi. "We have to score in this match, we must attack and defend better than the first two matches in order to get the three points.

"We didn't play badly in the first two matches, but we were not perfect, and the results were not in our favour, so we will have to play better and attack more. We must also stay focused, as making mistakes at this level means you will concede and lose."

"We've analysed Al Wehdat and we've seen that they are good in defence and transition well into attack. They are organised and it is difficult to score against them, but we have to be ready for the match and create chances to score.

"There is nothing guaranteed in the group, and we can't predict who will qualify, as all four teams still have a chance to qualify, so we will only focus on our next match against Al Wehdat."

Al Wehdat, in their maiden AFC Champions League group stage campaign, have opted for a defensive approach thus far and it worked against Al Nassr, with the Jordanian side walking away with a 0-0 draw. Had it not been for Chimba converting a penalty for Foolad Khouzestan FC on Saturday, Al Wehdat may have well earned another point.

However, Al Wehdat need goals if they are to enjoy a prolonged stay in the AFC Champions League and a defensive approach may no longer work at this stage of the tournament and head coach Abdullah Abu Zema may have to rethink his plans.

2021 AFC Champions League: Foolad Khouzestan FC 1-0 Al Wehdat

"The match against Al Sadd will be very difficult, specially when the two teams are in a similar situation, with one point after the first two matches," said Abu Zema.

"But the pressure will be more on Al Sadd, who are not only favourites to qualify from the group, but also to win the title. Al Sadd are a big team and they are capable of going through any pressure, but we are also a very good team and we can stop Al Sadd."

"I trust my players, they have the abilities and the experience, with many of them playing in the national team, and they can deliver what we want from them.

"Football is not only about defence or attack, it's about both, we have a very good defensive structure, but we need to make better use of our chances.

"We are an attacking team, but we changed our style a week before we came here, so we need some time to adapt and perfect our attacking formation. You need to be realistic when playing in the AFC Champions League, which depends on small details."


Al Sadd SC (QAT) v Al Wehdat (JOR)
Venue: King Fahd International Stadium, Riyadh
Kick-off: 21:00 hours (UTC+3)

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