Sheer grit key to Al Nassr win: Giuliano - GulfToday

Sheer grit key to Al Nassr win: Giuliano

Sheer grit key to Al Nassr win: Giuliano

Al Nassr and Al Wahda players in action during their ACL pre-quarterfinal second leg match on Monday.

Abu Dhabi: Two-goal hero Giuliano credited Al Nassr’s determination for their 3-2 comeback victory against Al Wahda in the second leg of the 2019 AFC Champions League Round of 16 on Monday.

The Brazilian midfielder struck twice from inside the box, either side of the half-time break to help his side to a 4-3 aggregate win after Abderrazak Hamdallah had cancelled out Al Wahda’s opener.

“The game was very difficult due to the weather and Al Wahda’s strength as a unit,” said the 29-year-old.

“We came to Abu Dhabi to win and qualify. We were determined as a team to reach the quarter-finals and we made it.”

Giuliano became Al Nassr’s joint all-time top scorer in the AFC Champions League, equaling the five-goal tally recorded by Kuwaiti striker Bader Al Mutawa in the 2011 edition, in which Al Nassr reached the Round of 16.

The former Zenit and Fenerbahce player netted three goals in the group stage, before putting two past Al Shamsi on Monday to equal Al Mutawa’s tally. He will have the opportunity to make the record his own as Al Nassr face Qatar’s Al Sadd in the quarter-finals.

“We were the best team and fully deserved to qualify for the quarter-finals. We fought from the first minute to the last.

“I would like to congratulate and thank my teammates. We played very well and deserved to win.”

Meanwhile, Al Sadd head coach Xavi expressed his delight after the Qatar Stars League champions sealed a place in the 2019 AFC Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday.

Al Sadd saw off the challenge of Qatar rivals Al Duhail, scoring a 3-1 win in the second leg of their Round of 16 tie to advance 4-2 on aggregate.

“We are very happy to qualify for the quarter-finals. I am very happy with the team because they did an outstanding job.

“As I had said earlier, Al Duhail are one of the best teams in the Middle East with players who have played together for 7-8 years. So our achievement is amazing.”

Xavi, who took charge of Al Sadd as head coach after having served them as a player for four seasons, said his team had shown consistency over both legs.

“Our players gave an unbelievable performance over the two games. At Al Wakrah in the first leg, we were the better side but today, we were only good in the first half.”

“They made things very difficult for us in the second half. We created and missed chances but I have been working on a new philosophy with the team for the last three weeks.

“I am very happy that we have qualified, I am very happy for the players. Our work continues now, next up we have the Sheikh Jassim Cup match (the Qatar season opener against Al Duhail).”

As for the quarter-final clash with Al Nassr, Xavi said: “It will be a tough game against Al Nassr, we saw their game  – they have excellent players but our aim will be to reach the semis.

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