Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 14 October 2019

Asian Champions League: 'Attack best form of defence' for Al Wahda against Al Nassr

Abu Dhabi side drew first leg of last-16 1-1 in Riyadh, giving them the advantage of the away goal

Leonardo scored Al Wahda's crucial away goal against Al Nassr in the Asian Champions League last-16 first leg. AFP
Leonardo scored Al Wahda's crucial away goal against Al Nassr in the Asian Champions League last-16 first leg. AFP

Al Wahda manager Maurice Steijn has no plans to go on the defensive as the Abu Dhabi side aim to take advantage of their away goal against Al Nassr and reach the Asian Champions League quarter-finals on Monday.

Wahda claimed a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the last-16 tie in Saudi Arabia last week, giving them the security of the away goal when they host the return fixture at Al Nahyan Stadium.

A goalless draw will be enough for Wahda to advance to the last-eight, although Steijn revealed his team will set out to win the match and leave nothing to chance.

“If it happens, it’s well and truly good, but that’s a very dangerous ploy because we can be in trouble if the opponent scores at any time of the game,” he said at the pre-match press conference on Sunday.

“For me, attack is the best form of defence. We are going to play as we played last week, and as we have been playing the last four or five friendlies during our camp [in the Netherlands].

“It’s not a big advantage but we must make it count. The confidence in the camp is higher for this home game. My players were mentally stronger to come back and score the equaliser.

“It’s still 1-1 and with more than 90 minutes of the second tie to play. I am sure Nassr will come all out with the intention to win the game tomorrow. But we will fight to the end and we’ll see where we are.”

Steijn will have the full squad at his disposal after Argentine striker Sebastian Tagliabue returns to the side after a bout of flu.

“Sebastian is absolutely fine to play tomorrow even though he’ll not take part in the final training,” the Dutchman said.

Wahda are enjoying their finest run in the Champions League after extending their unbeaten run in the competition to six games. Hamdan Al Kamali, the Wahda centre-back, is confident they can take their momentum forward.

“Every game is a tough game when you reach this stage but with a decent result last week, we feel we have the stuff to win this game,” he said.

“We want to complete the job in front of our fans, but having said that, we can’t guarantee results. We can only go out there and do our best.”

The winners will go on to face either Al Duhail or Al Sadd, both from Qatar, in the quarter-finals.

Nassr manager Rui Vitoria said nothing less than a victory would suffice for his team’s qualification to the next round, even though a high-scoring draw of 2-2 or more will be enough to send the Riyadh side through to the next round.

“That’s to win,” he said. “We know it’s going to be another tough match for us, especially after the 1-1 result in the first leg. Obviously, the result proves Wahda are a strong team.

“That game is behind us and we have come here with the confidence of winning the away game. We couldn’t achieve that goal in Riyadh but we are confident we can achieve it tomorrow.”

Updated: August 11, 2019 07:42 PM

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