Abdelkarim Hassan netted a screamer as Spanish legend Xavi notched his first win as a manager after his Al Sadd side beat Qatari rivals Al Duhail 3-1 in AFC Champions League 2019 on Tuesday.
Al Sadd opened the scoring at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium in the 20th minute following a swift break, as Baghdad Bounedjah raced through the middle before unselfishly laying the ball off to leave Akram Afif with a simple finish.
Al Sadd down Al Duhail to hand Xavi first win
Four minutes after the half-hour mark, reigning AFC Player of the Year Abdelkarim stepped up to double his side’s lead as he lined up a freekick on the edge of the box and unleashed a thunderbolt past a hapless Amine Lecomte.
Al Duhail did pull one back in the 56th minute as it was their turn to hit on the counter; Edmilson Junior running onto Ali Afif’s incisive pass and firing a low shot into the bottom corner.
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But, in the first minute of injury time, the hosts made sure of the victory as Ahmed Yasser – under pressure from the excellent Abdelkarim – could only divert a freekick into the back of his own net.
To add insult to injury, Al Duhail finished the game with ten men as Mohammed Muntari was sent off shortly after when he lost his cool and struck Boualem Khoukhi in the face.
The triumph meant Xavi has now claimed the first victory of his managerial career in his second game at the helm and – coupled with last week’s 1-1 draw in the first leg – sees Al Sadd advance to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, where they will next meet Al Nassr.