Qatari football heavyweights Al Sadd sealed a place in the 2019 AFC Champions League (ACL) Round of 16 after defeating Al Ahli Saudi FC 2-1 in a Group D tie yesterday.
Al The Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, Qatari internationals Ali Asad (9’) and Akram Afif (12’) were on target for the hosts.
Omar Al Soma scored the only goal for the Saudi team.
Al Sadd showed their attacking intent from the start, creating their first big chance inside 60 seconds of kick-off.
Afif and his skipper, Spanish gfreat Xavi, exchanged passes down the right and the former Barcelona captain squared the ball for Baghdad Bounedjah who took it first time, but Al Ahli goalkeeper Mohammed Al Owais showed quick reflexes to catch the ball.
Jesualdo Ferreira’s side looked to apply high press to regain possession deep into the opposition half. Afif was successful in doing so in the ninth minute, when he dispossessed Saeed Al Muwallad then supplied a perfectly weighted diagonal pass to Asad who controlled then hit on the half-volley with his left past Al Owais for Al Sadd’s first of the night.
Al Ahli’s defensive struggles continued as they failed to deal with an Al Sadd corner kick, allowing the ball to fall for Xavi inside the box.
Xavi placed his ball into the bottom corner, but Al Owais made the save. Afif was quickest to the spilled ball and finished composedly from a very tight angle to double the hosts’ lead after just 12 minutes.
The first half could have ended with a hammering, had it not been for Al Owais denied a number of attempts by Al Sadd players.
Among the unlucky Al Sadd players was Bounedjah, who set a new record in the history of QNB Stars League as the top scorer with 39 scalps this season.
Al Ahli started the second half on the front foot and were rewarded for their attacking efforts with a penalty kick when defender Tarek Salman handled Abdulfattah Assiri’s cross. Omar Al Somah stepped up and drilled home from the spot to half the deficit. Al Owais continued to dominate the individual duel against Bounedjah, making another fine save after the Algerian was sent through on goal by a Xavi through pass.
In the 71st minute, the Algerian was finally successful in beating the Al Ahli keeper, placing his header from Xavi’s cross into the far corner, but Brazilian defender Aderllan Santos produced a heroic goal-line clearance to further frustrate Bounedjah and limit the score to 2-1.Courtesy:The Peninsula