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Hotshots: Baghdad Bounedjah (Al Sadd SC) – 2018 AFC Champions League

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Kuala Lumpur: When Al Sadd SC striker Baghdad Bounedjah scored 13 times in the 2018 edition of the AFC Champions League, the talented Algerian instantly became one of the competition’s all-time greats.

Indeed, Bounedjah rarely failed to shine after finding the net twice against Al Wasl FC on Matchday One, his impressive tally ensuring he joined Brazilians Adriano and Muriqui at the top of the AFC Champions League’s goalscoring charts for the most strikes in a single season.

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Despite Al Sadd failing to reach that year’s final, Bounedjah’s 2018 heroics will live long in the memory – his unerring eye for goal singling him out as a hotshot of note, as one to watch throughout his club’s Continental campaign.

With that in mind, join as we look back at Bounedjah’s stellar displays, performances which saw the finest defences in Asia try, but ultimately fail, to stop the formidable forward.

Goal #1 and #2 vs Al Wasl FC – Group Stage: February 13, 2018

With Al Sadd trailing 1-0, Boundejah entered the fray as a second-half substitute and duly drew his side level on 79 minutes thanks to a superb turn and finish following Xavi’s pinpoint pass. Bounedjah went on notch a dramatic winner in the game’s final moments, this time firing home from the edge of the area after Al Wasl had failed to clear an Akram Afif cross.

Goal #3 and #4 vs Persepolis FC – Group Stage: February 20, 2018

Bounedjah’s fine form continued a week later when he scored twice against Persepolis. The then 26-year-old striker opened his Matchday Two account in the 36th minute with a firm header from yet another accurate Afif delivery. One became two for Bounedjah in the second period as, set up once again by Xavi, he supplied a curled finish to net his fourth goal in two games.

Goal #5 vs FC Nasaf – Group Stage, March 13, 2018

After losing away to Uzbekistan’s Nasaf on Matchday Three, Al Sadd rebounded in style on Matchday Four by beating the same opponents 4-0 in the more familiar surroundings of Doha. It was also a case of normal service resumed for Bounedjah, with the crowd favourite notching Al Sadd’s third goal of the encounter courtesy of a sublime volley shortly half-time.

Al Sadd advanced to the last 16 stage of the 2018 AFC Champions League after defeating Al Wasl 2-1 in a Group C clash on Monday.

Goal #6 and # 7 vs Al Wasl FC – Group Stage, April 2, 2018

Boundejah wasted no time in breaking the deadlock against Al Wasl on Matchday Five, the Algerian making the most of a poorly struck Abdulrahman Ali backpass to score after only nine minutes. Al Sadd went on to double their advantage in the 59th minute, Bounedjah converting Afif's low cross with a back-heeled finish. The win saw Al Sadd progress to the Round of 16.

Goal #8 and #9 vs Al Ahli Saudi FC – Round of 16, 2nd Leg: May 14, 2018

Leading 2-1 from the first leg, Al Sadd’s hopes of progressing were bolstered further by Bounedjah when he weaved his way into the box before rifling a shot past goalkeeper Mohammed Al Owais on two minutes. Bounedjah would eventually send his side through to the quarter-finals - ramming home the rebound after his 70th minute penalty had initially been saved.

Goal #10 and #11 v Esteghlal FC – Quarter-finals, 1st Leg: August 27, 2018

Boundejah grabbed his fifth brace of the campaign in a 3-1 win over Esteghlal. With the game level at 1-1, he drifted into the area before bamboozling defender Mohammad Daneshgar and scoring on 65 minutes. Bounedjah provided further gloss to the scoreline some nine minutes later – picking himself up to convert a penalty after being fouled by Vouria Ghafouri.

Goal #12 v Esteghlal FC – Quarter-finals, 2nd Leg: September 17, 2018

Despite stiff Esteghlal resistance at Doha’s Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, Al Sadd eventually secured their ticket through to the semi-finals when, after Afif had been hauled down in the area by visiting custodian Mehdi Rahmati, Boundejah held his nerve to register his second penalty in as many games to secure a 2-2 draw for his side and a 5-4 aggregate success.

Goal #13 vs Persepolis FC – Semi-finals, 2nd Leg: October 23, 2016

Bounedjah’s 13th and final goal of what had proved to be a memorable Continental adventure came in the second leg of the semi-finals against Persepolis. Making the most of hesitancy in the host defence, Bounedjah pounced to score from 15 yards early in the first half. His efforts were, however, to be in vain as Persepolis went through to the final following a narrow 2-1 aggregate win.

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