10/6/2018 11:37:35 PM (GMT+3)

I always sought to win trophies at Atletico, says Gabi

I always sought to win trophies at Atletico, says Gabi

DOHA, Qatar: Former Atletico Madrid star Gabi hoped he can help Al Sadd overcome Persepolis in the AFC Champions League first-leg semifinals and reach the final for the first time since 2011.

"When I was in Atletico, I always played for the win and sought to win trophies. I do the same at Sadd. We are all prepared to achieve that," Gabi told the media. 

The former Atletico Madrid captain joined the Qatari side this summer and debuted at the AFC Champions League against Iran’s Esteghlal in the quarterfinal.

The 2011 champions overcame Saudi Arabia's Al Ahli and Esteghlal at the knock-out stages and have not lost since the group stage as they aim to repeat the feat of seven years ago.

But their last defeat was to Tuesday's opponents when Persepolis secured a 1-0 win in Tehran to top Group C, before the Iranian side knocked out Al Jazira in the last 16 and claimed a remarkable come-from-behind victory over Al Duhail, in the quarterfinals.

After a 3-1 win in the first leg in Tehran, Iran, Sadd held off Esteghlal’s challenge and drew 2-2 here to secure a spot in the semifinals.

Gabi played a key role in the win over Esteghlal and is now looking ahead of taking on another Iranian giant, Persepolis, in the last four.

“We’re motivated and have the desire to realise our dream to reach the final,” Gabi said. “This match is important not just for Sadd but for the country as well. We are ready and raring to go.”

Sadd coach Jesualdo Ferreira exuded his confidence and hoped his players stay focused.

“It’s a crucial game and we are concentrating on the psychological factor,” said Ferreira. “It’s not about point’s but a two-game competition. All the Sadd players want to participate and we are ready to offer the best.”