Al Gharafa is preparing to break the Asian knot

Written By Mark

Al Gharafa bears a great responsibility this season, which is to participate in the final qualifiers for the new edition of the AFC Champions League for the elite, which is being held for the first time with the participation of the best teams in the continent, led by Al Sadd and Al Rayyan, while Al Wakrah participates directly in the AFC Champions League 2.
Al-Gharafa bears a great responsibility to break the knot of the Asian qualifiers, and to defend its reputation and the reputation of Qatari football, as our clubs faltered greatly in the Champions League preliminary qualifiers from 2011 until last season. It also bears, of course, with Al-Sadd and Al-Rayyan the responsibility of breaking the knot of not winning the title since Al-Sadd won it for the second time. The last one was in 2011. Al-Gharafa begins its Champions League campaign by playing a match in the final qualifiers when it meets the winner of the match between Shabab Al-Ahly of the Emirates and Sepahan of Iran, in Doha next August 13.
Some may think that the task is easy and that holding the qualifiers match in Doha will make things easier for the Panthers, but history states that Al-Gharafa itself stumbled twice in the qualifiers and succeeded in passing them once, just as Al-Sadd, Lekhwiya, Al-Jaish, Al-Rayyan, Al-Arabi, Al-Wakrah and Al-Sailiya stumbled before.
Our teams have played 18 matches in the AFC Champions League qualifiers since 2011, but they only achieved victory in 8 matches and lost 10 matches, noting that 9 of these matches were held in Doha and the same 9 matches were held outside our stadium.
Al Sadd is considered to have achieved the greatest achievement, as it achieved the title in the 2011 season, even though it began the journey by competing in the first and second preliminary qualifiers and passed this difficult season until it achieved the title.
Al-Gharafa participated in the qualifiers 3 times, starting with the 2018 season when it won against Pakhtakor of Uzbekistan in Doha 2-1, but lost twice after that, the first time against Isfahan of Iran 2-3 in Doha in the 2019 season, and the second time in the 2021 season against Olmalik of Uzbekistan. As for the latest failures of the Qatari clubs in the AFC Champions League qualifiers, it was last season in 2023, despite their stay in Doha. Al-Wakra had a goal against Navbakhor Namangan of Uzbekistan, and Al-Arabi also had a goal against Olmalik of Uzbekistan in Doha, with a goal without a response.