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Xavi hails ‘amazing’ performance The Peninsula

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Al Sadd head coach Xavi Hernandez expressed his delight after the team’s 3-1 win over Al-Duhail in the second leg of the 2019 AFC Champions League Round of 16.

The result gave the Wolves a 4-2 aggregate victory, which took them to the quarter-finals of the tournament.

Xavi said: “We are very happy to qualify for the quarter-final. I am very happy with the team because they did an outstanding job. As I said yesterday, Al-Duhail are one of the best teams in the Middle East with players who have played together for 7-8 years. So our achievement is amazing.

“Our players gave an unbelievable performance over the two games. At Al Wakrah in the first leg, we were the better side but today, we were only good in the first half. They made things very difficult for us in the second half.

“We created and missed chances but I have been working on a new philosophy with the team for the last three weeks. I am very happy that we have qualified, I am very happy for the players. Our work continues now, next up we have the Sheikh Jassim Cup match.”

As for the quarter-final clash with Al Nassr of Saudi Arabia, the coach remarked: “It will be a tough game against Al-Nassr, we saw their game yesterday – they have excellent players but our aim will be to reach the semis. But now, the team is celebrating and we will then think about the Sheikh Jassim Cup, after that, the league and then, the Champions League.”

Xavi also spoke about the way the team changed their approach by bringing in Khoukhi Boualem in the second half.

“We were suffering with the long balls in the second half, and so we brought on Khoukhi to deal with it. Not just that but he also has a great personality and leadership skills so it was great to have him on for the last thirty minutes or so.

“After he came on, we changed our system a bit, with four defenders instead of three and two defensive midfielders. As I said, we didn’t play Khoukhi last time just because he had joined the training camp late. But he is one of the best players in Qatar.”

Meanwhile, Baghdad Bounedjah was delighted on his side progressing to the quarter-finals of the AFC Champions League,.

Bounedjah said: “I am very happy to qualify for the next stage. We played for the win from the first minute. Our only goal was to get the victory. We want to thank the fans, who supported us in both legs.”

He added: “We still have a lot of work to do. We need to prepare for the Super Cup match, which we wish to win as well. The team’s objective is to compete for all the titles, both in the Champions League and at ome. We hope fortune will be on our side.”

Tarek Salman spoke about the difficulty of their 2019 AFC Champions League Round of 16 second leg game against Al-Duhail, after a 4-2 aggregate win took them past their local rivals.

Tarek said: “The match wasn’t easy from the very beginning, as we had expected. But we played for the win and managed to secure things in our favour. We controlled the game, despite the continued efforts of Al-Duhail to try and equalise.”

“We are delighted that we managed to make our fans happy. They supported us with great force in this tough game. We look forward to seeing their support again in all the upcoming games, be it in the Super Cup, QSL or in the Champions League, in which we are looking to go to the farthest point.”

Click here to read more news from @thepeninsulaqatar

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