Doha: Coach Jesualdo Ferreira was hopeful that Al Sadd will be a lot stronger in the second phase of the league when his injured players, especially striker Baghdad Bounedjah, will return to action.
Sadd, who are third in the standings have endured a wretched luck with injuries so far this season as they have not been able to field their strongest squad so far in the league this season.
“We don't have the same strength of the last season but I hope in the second phase we will be able to field our strong lineup with the return of injured players. Our goal is to win the league title and we'll work on it until the last round,” Ferreira said as his side prepares to take on Al Kharaitiyat on Thursday.
The matches against Kharaitiyat are usually difficult and we will also miss some players because of injuries. But we will try to win all three points, said Ferreira. My players are ready for the challenge.
Sadd are drawn alongside Iranian side Persepolis, UAE’s Al Wasl and the winner of the playoff match between Nasaf Qarshi of Uzbekistan and Jordan’s Al-Faisaly in Group C of the AFC Champions League.
“We have to play six matches and I hope our injured players will be back as the AFC Champions League requires more effort and disciplined performance,” said Ferreira.
Meanwhile, Al Kharaitiyat coach Ahmad Al Ajlani expressed hope that they were capable of beating Sadd.
"We can beat Al Sadd, why not?
"When you face a team like Al Sadd, you’ve to be highly motivated and fully focused on the job. We’re facing a big problem in striking a balance between our attack and defence," said Al Ajlani.
“We’ve done well in some difficult matches and fared badly in some easy games. It’s a complicated situation. The consistency factor is very important in a league competition. In football, you’ve to be ready for any kind of situation. I want my players to keep the ball and dominate the game rather than wait to counter-attack," he said.