Al Sadd set up Al Nassr quarters clash to join Saudi rush in last 8 - GulfToday

Al Sadd set up Al Nassr quarters clash to join Saudi rush in last 8

Al Sadd set up Al Nassr quarters clash to join Saudi rush in last 8

Sadd SC’s Abdelkarim Hassan (left) scores off a free kick against Al Duhail during their ACL round of 16 second leg match in Doha on Tuesday. Agence France-Presse

An action-packed encounter at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium saw Al Sadd SC qualify for the 2019 AFC Champions League quarter-finals with a 3-1 win over rivals Al Duhail SC, securing a 4-2 aggregate victory on Tuesday.

Only one of the two Qatari sides could make it back-to-back AFC Champions League quarter-finals, and Al Sadd had the relative advantage going into the Tuesday fixture, having scored an away goal in the 1-1 draw at Al Duhail’s ground last week.

They will face Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr in the quarter-finals, scheduled for Aug.26 and Sept.16.

Al Duhail showed attacking intent from the get-go as centre-back Ahmed Yasser found Almoez Ali with a long pass after just three minutes. The Qatari international striker controlled the ball neatly inside the box, but his finish lacked accuracy, sending it wide of Saad Al Sheeb’s goal.

Al Sheeb was forced into a double-save in the 10th minute as Edmilson got past his marker down the right flank, cutting inside and shooting with the outside of his right boot. The Al Sadd goalkeeper made a superb diving save and was quick to get up and parry Youssef Msakni’s shot on the rebound.

The early storm was weathered and soon the hosts took the lead against the run of play. Former Al Duhail playmaker Nam Tae-hee supplied a defence-splitting pass for Baghdad Bounedjah who went through on goal and selflessly squared for Akram Afif to finish into the empty net, giving Al Sadd the lead in the 20th minute.

Three minutes later, Bounedjah could have doubled Al Sadd’s lead, beating the defender to Abdelkarim Hassan’s cross and flicking the ball, but the Algerian watched in agony as his strike bounced off the upright and behind for a goal kick.

Xavi’s men got their second of the night in the 34th minute. Nam won a free-kick at the edge of the box after he was brought down by Madibo.

Step up 2018 AFC Player of The Year Hassan to fire a bullet from the set-piece into the roof of the helpless Amine Lecomte to make it 2-0 going into the dressing rooms.

Al Duhail pulled one back 10 minutes after the restart through Edmilson. Ali started a quick counter attack from deep into his own half, supplying Ali Afif down the left to cross for the Brazilian winger who finished into the bottom corner of Al Sheeb’s net to revive Al Duhail’s hopes.

A thrilling final half an hour saw Bounedjah hit the post again for Al Sadd after a solo run and Al Duhail came just as close to scoring two minutes later with Afif’s corner being inadvertently flicked by Gabi into the frame of his own goal.

Matters were settled in Al Sadd’s favour in added time with a double-blow for Al Duhail. First, Yasser’s attempt to defend a Hassan Al Haydos free-kick ended with the ball rolling into the back of Lecomte’s net to make it 3-1 for Al Sadd at the death, then substitute Mohammed Muntari was sent-off in the aftermath after an assault on Boualem Khoukhi.

Al Sadd’s second successive quarter-final pits them against Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr, with the first leg taking place on August 26 and the return leg three weeks later.

In a late Monday match, fans at Grand Hamad Stadium were treated to a fine display of attacking football as Al Ittihad and Zobahan played out a seven-goal thriller with the Saudis emerging 4-3 winners in the second leg of their 2019 AFC Champions League Round of 16 encounter to guarantee themselves a place in the quarter-finals.

Having won the first leg 2-1, the two-time continental champions advanced with a 6-4 aggregate score and have set up an all-Saudi quarter-final clash with one of their arch-rivals Al Hilal or Al Ahli who face off in Riyadh in a late Tuesday match.

Following last week’s first-leg victory, Al Ittihad extended their unbeaten run in the competition to six games on way to the quarter-finals for the seventh time in their history.

Goals for Al Ittihad came from new signing Emiliano Vecchio in the 46th minute, Romarinho (64th and 70th minutes) and an own goal by Zobahan goalkeeper Mohammad Sadeghi (54th minute), whereas Zobahan’s goals came from an own goal by Al Ittihad’s Luis Jimenez in the 53rd minute, Hadi Mohammadi in the 72nd minute and Chrisantus in the 83rd minute of play to end the game 4-3 in favour of the team from Saudi Arabia.

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