Amotta echoes confidence ahead of Foolad challenge
Doha: Having seen his team just manage to make the cut for the last 16 of the AFC Champions League, coach Houssain Amotta believes that Al Sadd will be very much the underdogs when they take on Iranian league champions Foolad Khouzestan on Wednesday.
The Qatari club, who lifted the continental title just three years ago, conceded 14 goals during the group stage after suffering heavy away defeats in Saudi Arabia against Al Hilal and in Iran against Sepahan.
However, they booked their spot in the Round of 16 after Rodrigo Tabata’s late goal gave them a crucial 2-1 win over United Arab Emirates league champions Al Ahli in Doha two weeks ago.
Like Al Ahli before, Foolad will be taking an unbeaten record into Wednesday’s match at the Shekih Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium but Amotta expects an even more difficult outing for his side.
“The match is very difficult and hard because we are playing against a team who haven’t lost any of their matches in the competition,” said the Moroccan, who saw his side beat Al Arabi 2-0 in the quarter-finals of the Emir Cup last Saturday.
“Foolad have five international players in addition to some good foreign players and they will be a tougher team than Sepahan who we met in the group stage.”
Al Sadd will also be hampered by the absence on Wednesday of midfielder Talal Al Bloushi and defender Abdelkarim Hassan. Al Bloushi has yet to recover from a groin injury while Hassan is suspended after receiving his second yellow card of the group stage during the win over Al Ahli.
“We will be missing two key players and their absence will definitely affect us in the match tomorrow,” said Ammota. “However, we are confident that our players will be able to produce a good performance and cover the gaps well.”