Champions Al Sadd aim to finish with a flourish


Doha: Champions Al Sadd will be looking to celebrate their 14th QNB Stars League (QSL) title win with their fans today.

Despite having sealed the 14th Falcon Shield, coach Jesualdo Ferreira is not finished yet.

Al Sadd, who crushed Al Ahli 7-2 to seal the QSL crown with a round to spare, face Umm Salal in their final match of the League at their home turf today.

“We will enjoy the match against Umm Salal. It will not be a very important match from our point of view, but we want to win and move up in terms of points. Our players will also seek more records,” Ferreira said during a pre-match press conference.

“This is our final match in this season’s league competition. We are so happy to have already won the title, which was our goal from the start of the season,” the Portuguese tactician said.

“We, at Al Sadd, love to break records. We just returned from Uzbekistan after playing in the AFC Champions League against Pakhtakor. I will see the fitness of our players and decide the team to play against Umm Salal,” Ferreira said.

“This is my fifth league title in three countries and on three continents, and I am happy to have done so. It is very difficult to win the shield. The Qatar league is very difficult and I spent a lot of time preparing a strong team. I am happy with this team,” Ferreira said.

While most of the QSL teams failed to carry on with a long-term head coach, Al Sadd had a brilliant time with Ferreira, who left Egyptian football giants Zamalek SC to replace Hussein Amute in November, 2015.

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Ferreira, 72, has managed some of the most prestigious clubs in the world, including Benfica, Porto, Malaga, Sporting CP and was also in charge of the Portugal U-21 during his illustrious career.

“My contract with the team will end at the end of the season. Al Sadd will stay in my heart. My family is happy to live in Qatar,” Ferreira said.

“We would also like to win the Emir Cup,” he added.

Ferreira’s counterpart in today’s encounter, Raul Caneda is aware of the strength of the side led by Barca legend Xavi Hernandez, but will be looking to finish off the League with an upset win.

“We are facing the new champions, so we will play with all our strength and abilities to get a positive result. We are not focusing on the Al Sadd team and my focus will be on my team. Our goal is to play for victory. We suffered a big loss against Al Shahania last week. The result of the previous game must have a positive impact on the players and we expect a positive reaction from them,” Caneda said.

“When we talk about Xavi, he is one of the best players from Spain. This may be his last game for Al Sadd. The Spanish team was at its best during his prime and they won three major tournaments in a row,” he said.

Umm Salal sit at the ninth spot in standings ahead of the 22nd round, and have moved away from the relegation threat. If things go according to Caneda’s plans, Umm Salal will secure their seventh win today.Courtesy:ThePeninsula