AFC Champions League 2019: Al Duhail reach Round of 16 after 2-2 draw with Al Hilal while Esteghlal crash out

Al duhail AFC Champions League

Al Duhail SC made the knockout stages of the AFC Champions League 2019 after holding Al Hilal FC to a 2-2 draw in Group C on the final matchday while IR Iran’s Esteghlal crashed out 

Bafetimbi Gomis scored a brace for Al Hilal as the Saudi Professional League side looked to be heading for a 2-1 win, however, Khalid Muneer equalised for the Qatar Stars League side in the second minute of the second half injury time.

While the point was enough for Duhail to progress to the Round of 16 as the runners-up of Group C, Al Hilal finished with 13 points from four wins and a draw. Their only defeat still remains a 2-1 loss to Esteghlal on Matchday 2 in Doha, Qatar.

Home side Al Duhail had taken the lead through Youssef El-Arabi at the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha with 15 minutes on the clock, however former Swansea City forward Gomis ensured the two teams went into the break level after finding the back of the net in the 29th minute.

The 33-year-old striker then scored his second goal 10 minutes after the restart — the goal almost turning out to be a winner with the Al Hilal defence looking stubborn despite several Al Duhail attacks. However, the Qataris finally found a way through at the death to nick a point and qualification for the next round.

The two sdies will now return to the continental championship when Round of 16 action resumes in August.

Meanwhile, in the other match, Esteghlal had seen a glimmer of hope as they led Al Ain 2-1 while Duhail were losing. A couple of goals here or there could have favoured the Iranians to progress. But it was not to be for the Taj.

Swedish international striker Marcus Berg had launched hosts Al Ain into the lead at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in the 13th minute, however Mohammad Daneshgar restored the parity nine minutes later.

Morteza Tabrisi found the visitors’ second just before the referee blew for half time. The second half saw both sides create more chances, but there was no addition to the scoreline as the match finished 2-1.

Duhail finished with eight points — one short of runners-up Duhail — while Al Ain brought an end to their forgettable ACL campaign collecting only two points in the group stages.