Xavi Hernandez’s Al Sadd SC are through to the quarterfinals of the AFC Champions League 2019 after a 3-1 second leg win over Al Duhail SC at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha.
Qatar internationals Akram Afif and Abdelkarim Hassan gave Al Sadd a 2-0 lead in the Round of 16 tie which had finished 1-1 in the first leg. Al Duhail got a lifeline when Edmilson Junior scored in the second half, but an own goal from Ahmed Yasser in the dying minutes ensured Al Sadd progressed 4-2 on aggregate.
Al Duhail were the ones who started the game strongly, but their defence failed to cope with the Al Sadd attack once the hosts had settled in. And it was only a matter of time before Xavi’s men took the lead.
Just like in the first leg Al-Wakrah, it was Akram Afif who gave Al Sadd the lead. Nam Tae-hee released Baghdad Bounedjah on a break in the 20th minute and the Algerian forward squared the ball for Afif to score and celebrate by putting on a ‘white wolf’ mask.
Bounedjah himself had the opportunity to find the back of the net three minutes later, but instead could only hit the upright from an Abdelkarim Hassan cross. Five minutes on, Tae-hee once again played a delightful ball to split the Al Duhail defence, but Salem Al Hajri’s shot after being teed up in the centre by Bounedjah, once again, was disappointing.
AFC Champions League 2019: Al Sadd SC 2-0 Al Duhail SC (Abdelkarim Hassan 34′)
Rui Faria’s backline was in scrambles and conceded a free kick at the edge of the box just after the half-hour mark when Assim Madibo fouled South Korean mideo Tae-hee. Abdelkarim’s free kick scorched the roof of the net leaving goalkeeper Amine Lecomte a mere spectator and giving Al Sadd a 2-0 lead.
Al Duhail’s only chance of note in the first period came in the injury time Youssef Msakni, who had scored in the first leg, fired at the wrong side of the post. But apart from that, it was Al Sadd who dominated the first 45 minutes in Doha.
The second half, however, began with new hope for Al Duhail as they pulled one back at the start. The visitors launched a counter in the 56th minute and Ali Afif seemed to have overrun his pass for substitute forward Mohanad Ali, but Edmilson Junior arrived on the right wing to make it 2-1.
This meant that Al Duhail could progress on the away goal rule if they could score one more. But Al Sadd could have once again found a two-goal cushion in the 65th minute, only for Bounedjah’s shot to hit the inside of the post and bounce back into the hands of the Al Duhail custodian.
— AlSadd S.C | نادي السد (@AlsaddSC) August 13, 2019
Al Sadd survived a scare when Gabi hit his own post with a backheel and then wasted another opportunity to put daylight between them and their local rivals when Boualem Khoukhi failed to turn in a Hassan Al Haydos free kick in front of the goal.
The Qatar Stars League champions finally found their third when Al Haydos played in another sumptuous set-piece delivery — this time fired low towards Abdelkarim — and the ball was turned in into his own net by Ahmed Yasser sealing the win for Al Sadd.
Al Duhail ended with 10 men when substitute Mohammed Muntari saw the red card for violent conduct soon after the third goal went in.
Al Sadd will face Saudi Professional League outfit Al Nassr FC in the quarterfinals of the AFC Champions League 2019 on August 26 and September 16.