Al Sadd meet Persepolis in Xavi’s final game; Al Duhail host Al Hilal

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Newly-crowned Amir Cup champions Al Duhail today will host Saudi giants Al Hilal at Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium, hoping for maximum points in the heavyweight Group C clash at 2019 AFC Champions League.

Three days ago, Al Duhail stunned Al Sadd 4-1 in the final to retain their Amir Cup title at Al Janoub Stadium.

With both sides already through to the next round, Al Duhail and Al Hilal are expected to dish out another thrilling encounter.

The two teams go into the final game of the group stage (also the last of their respective seasons), following contrasting results on the domestic front.

Al Duhail made up for the disappointment of conceding the Qatar Stars League title to rivals Al Sadd by defeating the latter 4-1 in the final to lift the Amir Cup trophy last week.

Al Hilal had a blank season, finishing runners-up to Al Nassr in the Saudi Pro League and being eliminated in the semi-finals of the King’s Cup by eventual winners Al Tawoun.

Buoyed with winning the first title of his managerial career, Al Duhail’s Rui Faria will miss the services of Qatari international defender Bassam Al Rawi, who suffered an injury during the Amir Cup final.

Meanwhile in Tehran, the famous Azadi Stadium will be home to the last match of Spanish legend Xavi’s career as Al Sadd face Persepolis on Matchday Six of the 2019 AFC Champions League Group D today.

The former Barcelona midfielder brings to an end a four-year stay in Doha as he prepares to hang his boots following the Persepolis clash, closing the curtains on the final act of a 22-year career which saw him win 32 titles, the last of which was the 2018-19 Qatar Stars League.

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In Tehran, a repeat of the 2018 AFC Champions League semi-final between Persepolis and Al Sadd comes under contrasting circumstances, with Al Sadd already qualified and Persepolis eliminated from Group D.

Today, the two sides meet for the sixth time in just over a year. Persepolis and Al Sadd were pitted together in Group C last time around.

A brace from Baghdad Bounedjah helped Al Sadd to a 3-1 win in Doha on Matchday Two.

In April 2018, it was Iranian international defender Morteza Pouraliganji who scored, albeit in his own net, gifting Persepolis a 1-0 win in Tehran. The same scoreline was replicated six months later at Jassim bin Hamad Stadium when the two sides met in the semi-finals first leg.

Bounedjah’s goal was cancelled out by Siamak Nemati as Persepolis snatched the 2018 AFC Champions League final ticket with a 1-1 draw in Azadi Stadium.

Al Sadd’s Algerian forward continued his impressive scoring record against Alireza Beiranvand, scoring the only goal in his side’s 1-0 win on Matchday Two of this year’s group stage.Courtesy:The Peninsula