Qatar football giants Al Sadd and Al Duhail will clash in the pre-quarter-finals of the AFC Champions League as last-16 fixtures for the premier continental event were confirmed after yesterday’s final group games.
According to the fixtures, the two teams will first meet on August 6, with Al Duhail hosting Al Sadd in the first leg, followed by the second leg on August 13.
Both the top Qatari clubs have enjoyed successful season as Al Sadd clinched the QNB Stars League title, with Al Duhail finishing as runners-up.
Rui Faria’s Al Duhail bagged the prestigious Amir Cup title after thrashing Al Sadd 4-1 in the final hosted at Al Janoub Stadium – one of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 venues.
Meanwhile, former Barcelona star Paulinho edged two-time winners Guangzhou Evergrande into the AFC Champions League last 16 yesterday, while title-holders Kashima Antlers had to come from a goal behind to avoid an embarrassing group stage exit.
The midfielder’s second-half header was the difference for Fabio Cannavaro’s side in a tense 1-0 home win over South Korea’s Daegu, who had only needed to avoid defeat to finish second in Group F.
In Japan, a quickfire double from substitute Sho Ito gave Kashima a 2-1 home win over Group E leaders Shandong Luneng, who had taken a 10th-minute lead courtesy of former Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini. Kashima now face an all-Japan clash against Group F winners Sanfrecce Hiroshima, who won 3-1 at Melbourne Victory.
Elsewhere, Shandong, who topped the group a point ahead of Kashima, will square off against Guangzhou in a blockbuster all-Chinese clash when the knockout stage begins next month.
Kashima only needed a draw to join Shandong in the last 16 but fell behind early as beanpole Belgian Fellaini powered home a header after good work from Brazilian Gil.
Japanese veteran Keisuke Honda’s last match in Australia for Melbourne Victory ended in a home defeat as Hiroshima confirmed their Group F dominance.Courtesy:The Peninsula