Hamdallah, Giuliano lead Al Nassr past Al Wahda into ACL quarters

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Al Nassr are through to the AFC Champions League 2019 quarter-finals after beating Al Wahda 3-2 on Monday to claim a 4-3 aggregate win in the Round of 16.

Following a 1-1 draw in last week’s first leg, it was actually Al Wahda who drew first blood in the return encounter at the Al Nahyan Stadium in the 27th minute.

A searching ball from Ismail Matar was headed away by Omar Hawsawi but only as far as to Leonardo, who shaped to shoot before bending a neat pass to the back post for Mohammed Al-Menhali to steer home from close range.

But, four minutes before halftime, Fahad Al-Jumeiah popped up on the right flank and curled a lovely cross into the box, where it was met by Abderrazak Hamdallah with a perfectly-guided header into the far corner for the equaliser.

Right before halftime, Hamdallah then turned provider as he was fed possession on the edge of the box by Abdullah Al-Khaibari and pulled off a sublime backheel to release Giuliano, who made no mistake in finishing past Mohammed Al-Shamsi.

Two minutes after the hour mark, the visitors struck again when Giuliano netted on the rebound after Fahad Al-Jumeiah’s initial effort had been saved by Al-Shamsi.

With a two-goal cushion and three away goals to their names, Al Nassr appeared to be cruising at this stage but there was still time for some late drama.

Al Wahda reduced the deficit in the 79th minute when Matar embarked on an enterprising run down the left and played the ball back to the edge of the area, where Tahnoon Al-Zaabi’s snapshot was diverted by Sebastian Tagliabue past a hapless Brad Jones.

Then, with three minutes remaining, the hosts thought they had equalised on aggregate when Leonardo’s flick-on header was bundled over the line by Nicolas Milesi, only for the strike to be ruled out for offside.

In the end, it was not to be for Al Wahda as Al Nassr played out the remainder of the contest – which threatened to boil over in the closing stages – to secure their passage into the last eight.

AL WAHDA: Mohammed Al-Shamsi, Mohammed Al-Menhali, Hamdan Al-Kamali, Rim Chang-woo, Hussain Abbas (Khaled Ibrahim 83’), Nicolas Milesi, Fawaz Awana, Khalil Ibrahim (Tahnoon Al-Zaabi 72’), Ismail Matar, Leonardo Sebastian Tagliabue.

AL NASSR: Brad Jones, Sultan Al-Ghanam, Maicon Roque, Omar Hawsawi, Abdulrahman Al-Obaid, Abdulrahman Al-Dossari, Abdullah Al-Khaibari, Hamad Al-Mansor (Khalid Al-Ghwinem 71’), Giuliano (Abdullah Madu 89’), Fahad Al-Jumeiah (Awadh Khamis 90+3’), Abderrazak Hamdallah.