Competition between the leaders of Qatar and Saudi Arabia will be renewed when Al Sadd meet Al Hilal in the first leg of the AFC Champions League semi-final tomorrow in Doha.
Al Sadd and Al Hilal are known as the “Leader” in their country, two of the most winning teams in West Asia, and will meet in the Champions League for the first time in four years.
In 2015, they exchanged victories at home in the group stage, where Al Hilal won 2/1 at King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, while Al Sadd won 1/0 at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha.
Although the two teams have met 12 times in the continent’s first-level club competition, only three encounters have been in the knockout rounds.
Al Hilal won 1/0 in the semi-finals in 2002, one year before the start of the Champions League in its new form, while the Saudi team won 1/0 in the second and second round of the eight rounds in 2014.
Both won the title twice, the most recent of which was Al Sadd in 2011, while Al Hilal reached the final twice in 2014 and 2017 before losing to Western Sydney Wanderers and Urawa Red Diamonds respectively.
Al Hilal coach Xavi Hernandez said after winning the league match against Al Sailiya last week:
The teams went a difficult way to reach the semi-finals.
In the group stage, Al Hilal led their strong group which included Al-Duhail, Al-Ain, UAE and Iranian Independence after one defeat in 6 games, while Al-Sadd led a group that included Al-Ahli of Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor and Iranian-Iranian Pirouzi, despite losing two games in six games.
In the round of 16, both of them fought a local summit, where Al Sadd managed to overcome their rivals Al Duhail, while Al Hilal beat Al Ahli. In the last eight, Al Sadd defeated Al Nasr, Saudi Arabia’s traditional rival, while Al Hilal managed to overcome Al Ittihad in another purely Saudi encounter.
Both sides are also similar in getting a new coach from the knockout stages, with former Barcelona captain Xavi taking over Al Sadd after retiring at the end of last season, while Razvan Lucescu led Al Hilal in a bid to regain the league title they lost to Al Nasr in 2018. 2019 in addition to achieving the continental title that has eluded him a lot in the past few years.
Both tops the league in their country unbeaten and enter the game with high morale, although Hilal lost the efforts of prominent player Nawaf Alabed due to injury.
Al Sadd, meanwhile, have regained their left back Abdulkarim Hassan, the best player in Asia last year, after recovering from a healthy illness, while Al Hilal midfielder Salman Al Faraj returned to team training after he missed the league cooperation last week due to injury.
The two sides will meet in the second leg in Riyadh on October 22.
Match date and carrier channels:
The match between Al Hilal and Al Sadd will be held on Tuesday at 18:30 Mecca time, 17:30 Cairo time.
The game is transmitted on beIN SPORTS HD 2.