DOHA: Al Duhail will hope to start their campaign in the season-opener Sheikh Jassim Cup on a positive note when they meet Emir Cup runners-up Al Rayyan in the one-off match at the Al Sadd Stadium on Tuesday.
The tournament usually pits QSL and Emir Cup champions, but since Duhail had won both, the Emir Cup runners-up was chosen to play in the season's first competition.
“Players have the motivation to continue their good work as they did last season. I thank the outgoing coach Djamal Belmadi for his effort which is reflected in the side. I hope, the team lives up to the expectations from the management and fans,” said Duhail coach Nabil Maloul, who joined the club this month.
The Tunisian had guided his national team at the FIFA World Cup in Russia and his experience will help the QSL champions maintain consistency in the new season.
“This match will be an important one for us as a positive start will boost the team’s confidence before the Qatar Stars League,” said Nabil.
Duhail had won the title in 2015-16 and 2016-17 respectively, but Al Sadd beat them last year 4-2.
"It's going to be a difficult match as Rayyan are a strong side and has a reputation in big match. But we will give off our best," he added.
Meanwhile, Rodolfo Arruabarrena, who joined Rayyan early this month as their new coach, exuded confidence ahead of the crunch tie.
Arruabarrena will have his task cut out after the side went trophyless last season.
“We have had a successful camp in Austria and the players have shown the ability to meet the demands in the new season. We’re ready for the challenge in the Sheikh Jassim Cup,” said Arruabarrena, who replaced Michael Laudrup.
The former Argentina left-back has signed a contract this month and his main target would be to win the league, which they had won Jorge Fossati in 2015-16.