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Al Sadd through to quarters with pulsating 3-1 win over Al Duhail

Al Sadd through to quarters with pulsating 3-1 win over Al Duhail

Ayeni Olusegun
Doha
A feisty encounter at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium saw Al Sadd qualify for the AFC Champions League quarter-final with a 3-1 win over local rivals Al Duhail on Tuesday. The Wolves sealed a 4-2 aggregate victory over two legs.
After 1-1 first leg score, Al Sadd had the away goal advantage going into the match with goals as Akram Afif, Abdelkarim Hassan and an own goal from Ahmed Yasser secured the coveted spot for Xavi Hernandez’s side. Edmilson Junior scored Al Duhail’s only goal early in the second half.
Al Sadd will now face Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr in the quarter-final legs on August 26 and September 16.
Al Duhail started better of the two teams as Almoez Ali after showing good contol in the box blazed wide from inside the box just three minutes in.
The Red Knights continued to press with Edmilson and Youssef Msakni forcing Saad al Dosari into superb saves. Edmilson’s curling effort was palmed away by the Qatari custodian. Dosari was also quick to react to parry Msakni’s goal-bound rebound.
Al Sadd however got the opener in the 20th minute against the run of play. Former Al Duhail man Nam Tae-hee released Baghdad Bounedjah with a defence-splitting pass and the Algerian found his strike partner Afif, who calmly slotted home celebrating with a wolf mask.
It could have been two minutes later but Bounedjah directed his effort onto the post after excellent work from Abdelkarim Hassan.
Al Sadd were all over Al Duhail defence and Salem al Hajri should have done better with his finish after Amine Lecomte spilled an easy catch which fell to Bounedjah. The Algerian slipped in to Salem but the midfielder bundled his effort harmlessly wide.
But the Wolves weren’t to be denied. Hassan scored a goal-of-the-season contender sending a rocket of a shot into the roof of Lecomte’s goal with 11 minutes left in the first half.
Msakni came close on the stroke of half time but after showing quality skills in the box to beat his marker, the Tunisian’s end product blazed harmlessly wide.
Staring elimination in the face, Al Duhail coach Rui Faria brought in attacking players in Mohanad Ali and Ismaeel Mohammed at the start of the second half. They were rewarded 10 minutes later as Edmilson pulled one back for the visitors from an Ali Afif pass.
In the 64th minute, Bounedjah came agonisingly close to sealing the game only for his effort to canon off the post into the arms of Lecomte.
Boualem Khoukhi saw another chance go to waste as the defender found himself unmarked in the Al Duhail territory but his first time effort rolled narrowly wide.
Bassam al Rawi sent a free-kick wide but Al Sadd snuffed out hopes of any late drama in added time as Ahmed Yasser converted into his own goal from Hassan al Haydos’ free-kick.
More drama ensued before the final whistle when substitute Mohammed Muntari was shown a straight red card for punching Khoukhi as Al Sadd cruised into a second straight AFC Champions League quarter-final.At the whistle
Al Sadd 3 (Akram Afif 20’, Abdelkarim Hassan 34’, Ahmed Yasser Mohammedi 90+1’ (OG)
Al Duhail 1 (Edmilson Junior 56’)

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