El Jaish eager to draw first blood in AFC quarters clash against Al Nasr

 24 Aug 2016 - 3:10

El Jaish eager to draw first blood in AFC quarters clash against Al Nasr
El Jaish coach Sabri Lamouchi addressing press during media briefings held yesterday, ahead of their AFC Champions League quarter-final match which will be played at the Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha today.

 

By Rizwan Rehmat

DOHA: Qatar Stars League (QSL) giants El Jaish go into the first leg of their AFC Champions League quarter-finals against UAE side Al Nasr knowing new recruit Seydo Keita of Mali could play a key role in the match today.
El Jaish reached the quarter-finals for the first time in the club’s history earlier this year in May after Lekhwiya failed to go past the preliminary stage.
El Jaish coach Sabri Lamouchi feels his squad has hit the ground running in the pre-season season training camp and added Keita is up for his debut for the top QSL side.
“It will be his (Keita’s) first official game. We need his experience for tomorrow and in QSL games also. Of course, (he is a) big name. Hopefully he will do well,” Lamouchi said at a press conference yesterday.
“We know Keita is a big player. He came here from Europe a week ago,” Lamouchi said.
Lamouchi said Keita - the 36-year-old Barca veteran - is a short-term replacement for influential Abderrazak Hamdallah who is out with injury.

 

Al Nasr coach Ivan Jovanovi? (right) addressing press during media briefings held yesterday, ahead of their AFC Champions League quarter-final match which will be played at the Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha today.

 

“I want to remind you that he is here because Abderrazak Hamdallah is out injured. I want to wish him well. We are waiting for him to return,” Lamouchi said. “We want to see him again on the pitch,” Lamouchi said.
The El Jaish coach quickly added that today’s clash will test his side.
“Of course it won’t be an easy game. We were in Emirates for three weeks for training but we are happy to play this game,” Lamouchi said.
“‎I can say we are happy and proud to play the quarter-finals. Nobody could have imagined to see El Jaish in this position a few months ago,” Lamouchi said yesterday.
“We have good players but they also need to play with organisation,” the coach warned.
When asked about feeling the pressure of playing on home soil, Lamouchi said: “I feel the pressure for all games.‎ We always play to win. We have the determination. The players know that. I prefer to play the first leg away but we are ready for this one.”
El Jaish played Abdulrehman Abkar said: “It is a great opportunity to do well at the Asian level. We will try hard and please our fans.”
Al Nasr coach Ivan Jovanovi? said his side would be keen to go past El Jaish in the quarter-finals stage.
“It’s a very important match. A very difficult team and tough game for both. One of the two teams will go to semis so that’s the target,” Jovanovi? said yesterday.
“‎For our team, tomorrow is a big day. It’s the first time we reach quarters. We will try to reach the semis,” Jovanovi? said.
“‎El Jaish is an excellent team. They showed this in the earlier stage. They showed that against Lekhwiya also. As I said before. We will do our best to go to the next round,” the coach said.
When asked about the absence of Kembo Ekoko, the coach said: “Of course, Kempo is a very important player but we have to find a solution in his absence.”
Al Nasr coach said the hot weather may test the two sides.
“Am sure the weather will be difficult for both sides. Also, coming from a pre-season without match practice will be a concern for both sides. But we have adapt,” he said.
Al Nasr player Ahmed Ibrahim said: “We managed to get good preparation in the pre-seaon camp. We trained in Dubai and in Poland for 14 days. Some new players have joined us. We hope they add value to our team. We have trained in high temperature.”
The match starts at Lekhwiya Stadium at 7:00pm today. The return leg will be played on September 14 at Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai.

The Peninsula