Al Sadd aim to forget domestic pain
Al Sadd coach Aurelain Cosmin insisted his side will suffer no hangover from the heartbreaking loss to Al Gharafa that cost them the Qatar League title when they face Mes Kerman in the AFC Asian Champions League tonight.
Al Sadd were outclassed 4-1 on Friday, leaving Cosmin under increasing pressure, but the Romanian stressed he expects his team to shrug off that disappointment and collect three more points that will keep them in contention in Group D. "This will be a different game in a different tournament," Cosmin said. "In the last two days, I have been talking to my players about that match and I know we are not affected by that loss.
"This is a chance for us to move ahead in this tournament, a chance to create something new. Kerman have a very good side. Their players have great fitness levels. They are tall and tough players."
Mes boss Luka Bonacic, who guided Sepahan to the final in 2007, admitted he would be happy with a point at Sheik Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium. "It will be important not to lose this match," Bonacic said.
"It we can draw here, then Al Sadd will be on our soil in two weeks and then that will be our chance to play in front of our fans. So it is important to at least get a draw."
Struggling UAE champs
Leaders Al Hilal host bottom side Al Ahli at King Fahd International Stadium with the visitors' new boss Nooreddine Al Obaidy insisting his side can still make the last 16, despite failing to pick up a point in their opening two games.
"Losing two matches doesn't necessarily mean we have no hope," said Al Obaidy, who replaced Henk Ten Cate after the Dutchman resigned following the 5-0 drubbing by Al Sadd last time out. "We'll forget all about the previous results and focus on this match which of course means a lot to us." Al Ahli will, though, be without Brazilian striker Bare due to injury.
Al Hilal have quickly established themselves among the favourites for this year's tournament but coach Eric Gerets is taking nothing for granted despite a seemingly straightforward task against the UAE outfit.
"It's really a difficult match but we'll battle for the three points," said the Belgian. "In the case that we win, that would help us almost qualify for the next round. A loss would take us into calculations and permutations." Sweden midfielder Christian Wilhelmsson is ruled out for the hosts with a knee injury picked up in their last league game.