Al Sadd beat Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr to qualify for AFC Champions League semifinals


Qatar’s Al Sadd stormed into the semifinals of AFC Champions League after defeating Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr 3-1 in  the second-leg quarterfinal in Doha on Monday.

Akram Afif (26th minute), Hassan Al Haydous (59th) and Baghdad Bounedjah (83rd-min penalty) scored Al Sadd’s goals, while Abderrazak Hamdallah (33rd minute) gave Al Nassr’s sole reply.

The Wolves thus secured a 4-3 aggregate victory in front of loudly-cheering home fans.

Al Sadd, coached by Xavi Hernandez, had lost the first leg 1-2 in Riyadh on 26th August.

Right from the onset, Al Sadd made their intentions clear as captain Hassan Al Haydous came close to finding an early opener on two occasions.

Al Sadd dominated their rivals throughout the game and were rightly rewarded for their efforts.

In-form striker Giuliano was off-colour on the day and that also adversely affected Al Nassr.

Afif struck the first goal by easily heading in a Nam Tae-Hee cross.

The visitors needed no more than seven minutes to get back into the game after Hamdallah was fouled at the edge of the Al Sadd penalty box. The Moroccan stepped up and took the resulting free-kick himself. His strike took a deflection off Gabi Fernandez and nestled into the back of the net, leaving goalkeeper Saad Al Dossari helpless.

Al Haydous’ goal was a beauty. As Al Nassr attempted to build from deep, the midfielder intercepted a forward pass and exchanged passes with Nam before hitting a thunderous strike with the outside of the boot that flew into the top corner.

Then came the winner towards the end. A perfectly-weighted first-time through pass from Al Haydous set up a one-on-one chance for Afif and before he could apply the finish, the Qatar international was brought down by Abdullah Madu, prompting the referee to point to the spot.

Bounedjah duly converted the penalty, burying his shot into the bottom corner to win the tie 4-3 for Al Sadd.