Bengaluru/Doha: August 7: Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez, who made his competitive coaching debut for Al Sadd in the all-Qatari AFC Champions League round-of-16 tie against Al Duhail which ended in a 1-1 draw was happy to have made a smooth transition from the football pitch to the dug out, though he expected a better result.
The match played at Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah was a close one with Akram Afif giving Al Sadd the lead on the half-hour mark before Youssef Msakni hit back on the stroke of half-time to help Al Duhail earn a share of the spoils.
"It feels really good to coach this team. Our players were the best and had a great desire to win. The AFC Champions League is a tough tournament," Xavi told the club website.
The draw has put Al Sadd, the 2011 AFC Champions League winners, in an advantageous position on away goal rule ahead of next week's return leg at home.
The winners will face either Al Nassr of Saudi Arabia or Al Wahda of the UAE in the quarterfinals.
"My only disappointment is that we didn't win. It's not a bad result as we scored an away goal but we deserve more than that. What makes me happy is how the players performed on the pitch," added Xavi, who had joined Qatar Stars League club in 2015 as a player after a stellar 17-year trophy-laden career at Camp Nou.
The Spaniard dwelled further about his debut in the dug out.
"I've been working wih the players for three weeks and I'm happy with their performance. We were better than Al Duhail but this is football; if you don't make use of the chances, then you won't win.
"I'm satisfied with the performance. We could've won, but now there's another game remaining, which'll be played at our home and we're thinking about that game now," added Xavi, said Xavi, who took over from Jesualdo Fereira at end of the 2018-19 season.
(With AFC/Al Sadd inputs)