Al Sadd beat Persepolis in AFC Champions League


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Top Qatari side Al Sadd rode on a late goal by ace striker Baghdad Bounedjah to beat Iran’s Persepolis 1-0 in their 2019 AFC Champions League Group D second-round tie on Tuesday.

Both sides were looking for their first win of the competition as Al Sadd were beaten 2-0 by Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli on Matchday one, while Persepolis could only muster a 1-1 draw at home against Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor. And that attacking intent resulted in end-to-end action early on.

Persepolis were unlucky not to score in the ninth minute after somehow failing to tap the ball in during a goalmouth scramble.

Al Sadd’s Akram Afif then saw his curling effort take a deflection and miss the goal by inches. At the other end, Al Sadd goalkeeper Saad Al Dossari produced a stunning reflex save to deny Ahmed Noorollahi.

In the 35th minute, Bounedjah had a give-and-go with Akram, but failed to direct his header away from the hands of Persepolis custodian Alireza Beiranvand. Ali Alipour then stole the ball off Pedro Miguel and had a go at the goal, but saw his shot go wide.

At the stroke of half-time, Al Sadd had the ball in the net after Bounedjah nodded in from close range, but the assistant referee ruled the effort out for offside. 

The hosts upped the tempo as the second half kicked off, producing a flurry of chances to keep Beiranvand busy. The Iran international came up with two excellent saves to keep out Bounedjah in the 50th and 58th minutes.

In the 78th minute, right after Al Sadd had a penalty appeal waved away, Persepolis broke away on the counter which ended in Al Dossari keeping out Bashar Resan’s shot. 

Just as the match seemed to be heading towards a stalemate, Bounedjah struck the winner for Al Sadd after nodding in Hassan’s headed pass across the goalmouth in the fifth minute of stoppage time.