Visitors Al Sadd SC held Al Duhail SC to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie of the AFC Champions League 2019 at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah on Tuesday.
Qatar international winger Akram Afif had given Al Sadd the lead in the 30th minute in what was Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez’s debut as the head coach of the Qatar Stars League champions.
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However, Youssef Msakni scored the equaliser before half time to make it 1-1 and that is how the score remained when the referee blew the final whistle. Al Sadd will take an away goal in to the second leg of the ACL 2019 Round of 16 tie to be played at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha on August 13.
The game began on a slow pace with both sides attempting long balls over opposition defence to release their attackers. Young Qatar attacker Akram Afif found himself inside the box in the eight minute receiving one such pass, but Al Duhail goalkeeper Amine Lecomte was quick off his line to avert the danger.
Edmilson Junior, at the other end, also managed to get behind the opposition defence only for the Al Duhail attacker to balloon his shot over the goal after entering the box. There was also a shot flashed wide by Mohammed Muntari for Al Duhail in the early stages.
Afif, however, game the visitors the 1-0 lead at the half-hour mark when he received a ball at the edge of the box from Nam Tae-hee, cut across one defender and planted a low drive into the back of the net — the first goal of Xavi’s coaching career!
AFC Champions League 2019: Al Duhail SC 0-1 Al Sadd SC (Akram Afif 30′)
However, the celebrations were short-lived as Duhail struck back before the half-time break as Youssef Msakni planted a loose ball into the goal from the edge of the box to make it 1-1 in the 44th minute.
The second half saw Al Sadd enjoying a good share of possession. However, their inability to create clear-cut chances meant they had to settle for a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the knockout tie.
Meanwhile, for Duhail, Rui Faria have a all the work to do in the second leg away from home which will not be helped by an injury setback to former Juventus man Mehdi Benatia who seem to have aggravate an injury to his knee in the first half.