You can watch Al Sadd Vs Hienghène Sport via beIN CONNECT
Al Sadd will be looking to progress to the second round of the 2019 Club World Cup when they face off against New Caledonian side Hienghène Sport on Wednesday evening.
The Qatari side, coached by former Barcelona midfielder Xavi has been awarded a place at the tournament as hosts, although Al Sadd will be looking not to make up the numbers in the tournament.
The Wolves have enjoyed an exceptional 2019 under the Spanish coach, winning the league title at a canter and going all the way to the semi-finals of the AFC Champions League, before being knocked out by eventual champions Al Hilal.
With a squad packed with international and Qatari talent, on paper Al Sadd should have the better of Hienghène Sport, although preparations have not been ideal for the team. With key players representing Qatar in the recent Gulf Cup, and only a few games with a side made up of U23 players in the league cup, it’s not the best way to prepare for a major club competition.
Still, Xavi will try to make the best of what he has and may even rest the likes of Qatari stars Akram Afif, Hassan Al-Haydos and Abdulkarim Hassan ahead of bigger tests in the tournament. The Wolves have previously played at the Club World Cup and bowed out at the semi-finals to Barcelona in 2011. A game in which Xavi started for the Catalan side.
As for Hienghène Sport, they won their spot in Qatar by lifting the OFC Champions League becoming only the second non-New Zealand or Australian side to reach the tournament
It was a New Caledonian derby in the final, with Hienghène taking on AS Magenta. Antoine Roine proved to be the hero for Hienghène, with a spectacular strike from inside his own half booking their ticket to the Club World Cup finals.
Hienghène Sport is no strangers to making a long trip for a game, having played in the seventh qualification round in the Coupe de France against French side ASPV Strasbourg in November. Although that did end in a 3-1 defeat.
Felix Tagawa’s team were the first side to arrive in Doha ahead of the tournament making the mammoth 13,000km journey from New Caledonia. After ten days of preparation in Qatar, Hienghène will be raring to go and will take inspiration from Team Wellington who pushed hosts all Ain all the way to penalties in 2018.
Speaking to the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy on their arrival in Doha, club captain Bertrand Kaï revealed his excitement of leading his side out in Qatar.
"This is a moment of real pride. Having grown up in Hienghène, I never expected my small hometown club to set foot on a global stage. We are delighted to be in Doha and thank everyone for their hospitality – we can't wait for the tournament to get started and to represent New Caledonia with the world watching.”
Providing Hienghène Sport keep their composure, the New Caledonians could pull off one of the biggest upsets in Club World Cup history.
You can follow all the action from the Club World Cup on beIN CONNECT.