Al Sadd go down fighting to Al Ahli in AFC Champions League
Qatar’s Al Sadd went down fighting to Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli 0-2 in their AFC Champions League Group D opener in Jeddah on Tuesday.
Omar Al Somah struck both goals for Al Ahli.
Al Sadd had knocked out Al Ahli in the Round of 16 during last year’s edition, but Syrian striker Al Somah had missed both legs of that tie. This time around, he made his presence felt with a convincing show up front.
It was Al Sadd who started off as the brighter side, with Jung Woo-Young coming close to scoring in the ninth minute, but his powerful free-kick could only scrape the side netting.
Akram Afif then somehow skied the ball over the bar from just around the six-yard box a few minutes later.
Al Ahli punished the visitors midway through the first half when Baghdad Bounedjah was adjudged to have brought down Al Somah in the box. The crowd favourite sent Al Sadd goalkeeper Saad Al Dossari the wrong way to give Al Ahli the lead in the 32nd minute.
Al Sadd looked to push forward in search of an equaliser in the second half, but they found the going tough, with Al Ahli head coach Jorge Fossati ensuring a robust defensive display against his former side.
In the 69th minute, Abdelkarim Hassan’s strike was parried away by Mohammed Al Owais for a corner in what was the first real chance of the second half.
Six minutes later, Al Sadd’s hopes of overturning the result were dealt a heavy blow when Al Somah doubled the lead. The in-form striker netted with a thumping header off a Salman Muwashar corner.
Al Ahli will now be high on confidence when they travel to Uzbekistan to play Pakhtakor, while Al Sadd host Persepolis with an eye on making amends on 12th March.