Sparks are sure to fly when QNB Stars League leaders Al Sadd take on Iran’s Esteghlal in the AFC Champions League quarterfinals.
The first-leg match will kick off at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran on Monday, 27th August, at 19:00 Doha time.
The return leg will be played at the Al Sadd Stadium on 17th September.
Al Sadd, who won Asia’s top club tournament in 2011 and also in 1988 before the competition was revamped, won four of their six matches while losing two en route to finishing second behind Iran’s Persepolis in Group C that also consisted of Uzbekistan’s Nasaf and the UAE’s Al Wasl.
They beat Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli 4-3 on aggregate in the Round of 16 to book their quarterfinal berth for the first time since 2014.
Spanish FIFA World Cup winner (2010) and two-time European Championship winner (2008 and 2012) Xavi Hernandez will seek to achieve what no other player has done before — complete an AFC Champions League-UEFA Champions League double.
Xavi won an incredible four UEFA Champions League titles with Barcelona before joining Al Sadd in 2015.
It is against this backdrop that Xavi leads Al Sadd, who top the QNB Stars League table with seven points ahead of Al Duhail on goal difference, at the Azadi Stadium.
The Wolves, coached by Portuguese Jesualdo Ferreira, will also have the likes of fellow Spanish midfielder Gabi, who joined them from Atletico Madrid this season, Algerian spearhead Baghdad Bounedjah, who tops the QNB Stars League top-scorers’ chart with 10 goals, Qatar international striker Hassan Al Haydous, South Korean midfielder Jung Woo-Young, young forward Akram Afif and Boualem Khoukhi to deliver the goods.
Al Sadd may be without injured defender Ibrahim Majed.
Esteghlal topped a strong Group D which also had Al Ain, Al Hilal and Al Rayyan. They put it across domestic rivals Zob Ahan in the Round of 16.