Doha: Head coach Xavi Hernandez hailed what he described was one of Al Sadd's best matches of the year after the Qatar champions advanced to the 2019 AFC Champions League semi-finals on Monday.
Trailing 2-1 from the first leg in Riyadh last month, Xavi said Al Sadd produced the great performance required as the Doha-based club defeated Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr 3-1 at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium to advance to their second successive AFC Champions League semi-finals.
Quarter-final - 2nd Leg: Bounedjah takes Al Sadd through
Doha: Al Sadd reached the AFC Champions League semi-finals for the second year in a row after defeating Al Nassr 3-1 at Jassim bin Hamad Stadium in the second leg of the 2019 AFC Champions League quarter-finals to secure a 4-3 aggregate victory.
Having won each of their four home games in the competition so far, Xavi’s Al Sadd needed to extend the run if they were to secure a last-four place, having lost 2-1 in Riyadh.
Preview - QF 2nd Leg: Urawa Red Diamonds (2) v Shanghai SIPG FC (2)
Saitama: Something will have to give on Tuesday when the two-time champions of Asia host the Chinese Super League holders in the second leg of their 2019 AFC Champions League quarter-final at Saitama Stadium.
Two first-half goals had stunned the home crowd at Shanghai Stadium last month when Tomoaki Makino and Shinzo Koroki gave visitors Urawa Red Diamonds a 2-0 lead at the break, but two penalties emphatically converted by Hulk after the restart saw the scores finish level in China PR.
With the away goal advantage and in front of their home support, Urawa have been left in a strong position to advance to the last four for the fourth time in seven appearances, while Shanghai SIPG would be looking to reach just their second semi-final.
Kuala Lumpur: All four ties in the 2019 AFC Champions League quarter-finals remain firmly in the balance ahead of the second legs this week with the eight sides maintaining realistic hopes of advancing to the semi-finals.
Going into the matches, only Al Nassr start with a lead while the other three fixtures will kick off all square. Ahead of what promises to be an intriguing few days packed with drama and tension, the-AFC.com has picked five things to look out for.
Hashioka: I want to emulate my heroes and be an Asian champion
Saitama: Inspired by Urawa Red Diamonds' previous success in the AFC Champions League, young star Daiki Hashioka is dreaming of Continental glory ahead of Tuesday's quarter-final second leg clash with Shanghai SIPG.
Many of Urawa Reds current side know what it takes, and what it feels like, to be AFC Champions League winners. Less than two years ago, the likes of Shusaku Nishikawa, Tomoaki Makino and Shinzo Koroki lifted the trophy into the Saitama night sky.
Two from that squad, captain Yuki Abe and Tadaaki Hirakawa, had also won the title 10 years earlier; a success that had a profound impact on current defender Hashioka, the youngest player in the first team.
Pereira, Otsuki equally confident ahead of showdown
Saitama: A clean sheet will take Urawa Red Diamonds into the semi-finals of the 2019 AFC Champions League on Tuesday, and coach Tsuyoshi Otsuki has called on his players to maintain their focus when they meet Chinese Super League champions Shanghai SIPG at Saitama Stadium.
Urawa hold a slender advantage after the first leg of the quarter-final clash in Shanghai last month, when the two away goals earned in the 2-2 draw against Vitor Pereira’s side left the two-time champions needing only a low-scoring draw to advance to the last four for the fourth time since 2007.
Victory, of course, would take Urawa through but they will also advance should they notch up either a goalless draw or a 1-1 tie thanks to the goals scored by Tomoaki Makino and Shinzo Koroki in the first 45 minutes in China PR.
Kashima: Shoma Doi has talked up Kashima Antlers' chances of winning the quartet of titles they are chasing as the AFC Champions League holders prepare to take on Guangzhou Evergrande in the second leg of the quarter-finals at Kashima Soccer Stadium on Wednesday.
After securing a scoreless draw in the first leg at Tianhe Stadium in late August, the hosts go into the game on a fine run of form as a 2-0 victory over J.League leaders FC Tokyo at the weekend saw Kashima close the gap to just one point at the top of the table.
But while their season continues to go from strength to strength as they chase silverware on four fronts, the lack of an away goal in China could yet leave them in a perilous position and a Guangzhou goal could change the whole trajectory of the tie.