Al Sadd lose to Persepolis in AFC Champions League Round of 16


Al Sadd bowed out of the 2020 AFC Champions League in the Round of 16 stage when they lost 0-1 to Iran’s Persepolis at the Education City Stadium on Sunday.

Persepolis thus secured their place in the quarterfinals for the third time in four years, thanks to an 88th-minute Isa Al Kasir header.

The two sides had met in the semifinals of the 2018 AFC Champions League, with Persepolis emerging as 2-1 winners on aggregate to reach the final. Since then, they also exchanged wins in the 2019 group stage.

Despite keeping possession for extended periods of the first half, Al Sadd’s only chances came through shots from outside the box. Santi Cazorla drew a save from goalkeeper Hamed Lak in the 13th minute and Mohammed Jadoua’s effort from distance went agonisingly close on the wrong side of the post.

A quick break from the left flank saw Persepolis’ Ehsan Pahlavan dribble down the left and cross low for Vahid Amiri who was free at the near post but on trying to apply a first-time finish, could not direct it goalward.

Persepolis came as close as possible to opening the scoring without actually doing so at the hour mark as Resan moved into space on the right and crossed it for Kasir who beat his marker to the ball and applied the finish, but his effort hit the upright.

The two players combined again nine minutes later and once more Resan’s cross found Kasir in space, but this time the ball ricocheted against the crossbar.

With 15 minutes left, Akram Afif dribbled down the left flank and cut back to Nam Tae-Hee who took it first time with his left, but goalkeeper Lak was present to save.

Afif tried his luck again in the 82nd minute, cutting inside from the left but again Lak was untroubled, comfortably saving.

As the two teams looked set to head into extra time, it was finally third time lucky for Kasir who rose unchallenged to power in a header from substitute Omid Alishah’s corner, beating goalkeeper Saad Al Dossari and sending his side into the next round with his second goal of the 2020 AFC Champions League campaign.

Al Sadd had progressed to the knockout Round of 16 as the second team from Group D with nine points, behind toppers Al Nassr of Saudi Arabia (11 points).