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Al Sadd through to quarter-finals

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Doha: 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 August 26 and September 16.

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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.

FT: Al Sadd 🇶🇦 3 - 1 Al Duhail 🇶🇦

The 2011 ACL winners QUALIFY to the quarter-finals!!! For Duhail SC, their campaign ends tonight.#ACL2019 #SDDvADH

— AFC Champions League (@TheAFCCL) August 13, 2019

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.

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