Quarter-final - 1st Leg: Al Nassr (KSA) 2-1 Al Sadd SC (QAT)
Riyadh: Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr came from behind to seal a valuable 2-1 win over Qatar’s Al Sadd in the first leg of the 2019 AFC Champions League quarter-final at King Fahd International Stadium on Monday.
Making their first-ever quarter-final appearance, Al Nassr were hopeful of securing their first win over Qatari opponents in the competition, but had their work cut out for them by a late injury to star striker Abdelrazzaq Hamdallah.
In turn, Al Sadd needed a positive result from Riyadh to set them up for an easier task at home as they chase a second consecutive semi-final.
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After a strong spell of dominance early on, the home crowd thought their side had taken the lead in the 14th minute when Abdulrahman Al Dossari dispossessed Gabi inside the centre circle and broke free before supplying the ball to Saleh Al Abbas.
Al Abbas beat Al Sadd goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb from an angle, only to see the ball bounce off the upright and away.
When the stalemate was broken in the 21st minute, it was Ali Asad who sent the fans into complete silence.
Hassan Al Haydos failed to control Abdelkarim Hassan’s cross on the edge of the box, but the visitors caught a lucky break as the ball fell to Asad who swept it with a first-time strike into the top corner to open the scoring for Al Sadd against the run of play.
Al Nassr piled the pressure on their opponents as they chased the equaliser and restored parity a minute before the half-time break.
The Al Sadd defence failed to deal with Giuliano’s cross from the corner, allowing Al Dossari to pounce on the loose ball, drilling home the leveller.
FT: Al Nassr FC 🇸🇦 2 - 1 Al Sadd SC 🇶🇦— AFC Champions League (@TheAFCCL) August 26, 2019
From a goal down to winning the match. Can Al Nassr carry this momentum into Doha a few weeks from tonight?
Awaiting a very interesting 2nd leg on 16/09/19. #ACL2019 #NSRvsSDD pic.twitter.com/8DjHKamE2u
The match opened up in the second half with Akram Afif and Hassan threatening for the visitors and Fahad bin Jumayah drawing a fine reflex save out of Al Sheeb, all within 15 minutes of the restart.
Giuliano turned from provider to scorer in the 72nd minute. Nordin Amarabat showed glimpses of his skill to find space down the left and crossed for substitute Feras Al Biraikan at the far post.
Al Biraikan set up Giuliano with a header across the mouth of goal and the Brazilian applied a headed finish for his sixth goal of the 2019 AFC Champions League.
The large crowd at King Fahd International Stadium left pleased with the result, but their task in Doha in three weeks’ time is complicated by Asad’s away strike for Al Sadd.
The aggregate winners will face the winners between Saudi rivals Al Hilal and Al Ittihad.
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