x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

It is do-or-die time for Al Nasr in Asian Champions League

After dropping the first three matches of their Asian Champions League campaign, Al Nasr is in desperate search of a win against Al Gharafa in Qatar, writes Ahmed Rizvi.

Walter Zenga, coach of Al Nasr, is hoping his team can find a spark in Qatar on Wednesday in a must-win Asian Champions League match. Kamran Jebreili / AP Photo
Walter Zenga, coach of Al Nasr, is hoping his team can find a spark in Qatar on Wednesday in a must-win Asian Champions League match. Kamran Jebreili / AP Photo

Al Nasr's hopes of qualifying for the second round of the Champions League seem slim, but Walter Zenga has promised his team will not go out without a fight.

Having lost the first three matches of their Asian campaign, Zenga's men meet Al Gharafa in Qatar on Wednesday, against a side that boasts overseas stars such as Djibril Cisse, Nene and Alex, as well as several naturalised players.

The Qataris defeated Nasr 4-2 in Dubai last week and Zenga knows his young team will be up against it again.

"We have not come here to surrender and we are not going to raise the white flag," he said. "Although difficult, we still have an opportunity of making it to the second round. A win in this game will give us a new glimmer of hope, while a loss or a draw means the end of our chances, once and for all. So we still have a chance and we will do our best."

The Saudi club Al Ahli are at the top of Nasr's group with nine points. Gharafa are second on six points and Iran's Sepahan have three. A win tonight would virtually assure the Qataris of a place in the last 16 of the tournament, but coach Habib Sadek has warned against underestimating their opponents.

"We are facing a team who are still clinging to their hopes of qualifying for the second round," Sadek said. "This match is their last chance, which means they will make it very difficult for us. So there is no room for complacency."

arizvi@thenational.ae

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