Friday, 07 May 2021 11:23 GMT

Qatar- Al Sadd continue quest for first 2021 AFC Champions League win

(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Two late strikes by Al Nassr meant that Al Sadd continue in the quest of their first victory in the AFC Champions League after the Saudi club won their Group D clash 3-1 on Saturday.

Both sides went into the tie needing the three points after having opened their campaigns with draws. Al Sadd needed a last gasp equaliser against Iran's Foolad Khouzestan, while Al Nassr couldn't find a way past the resolute defence of Jordan's Al Wehdat.

The win boosts 2020 AFC Champions League semi-finalists Al Nassr's hopes of advancing to the Round of 16 while Al Sadd have it all to do as they seek their first win.

Both teams started the match cagily with play mostly concentrated in midfield with just the occasional foray upfront by either side.

Both had to be content with half chances but Baghdad Bounedjah came close in the 34th minute when he received a cross from Pedro Miguel but the Moroccan's right-footed shot from the centre of the box missed the top right corner.

Al Nassr's response was almost immediate as a speedy exchange of passes saw Nordin Amrabat releasing the ball to Sami al-Najei on the right.

Najei's cross hit Al Sadd captain Abdelkarim Hassan on the left hand, prompting the referee to point to the penalty spot, with 2020 AFC Champions League topscorer Abderazak Hamdallah rifling the ball home in the 37th minute to give Al Nassr the lead going into the break.

Al Sadd started the second half on the front foot with Mohamed Jadoua's left footed shot from outside the box just missing the top left corner in the 48th minute.

Nam Tae-hee had a half chance for Al Sadd five minutes later but the Korea Republic player's attempt missed the target but the Qatar champions kept pressing.

Their perseverance was rewarded in the 59th minute when Santi Cazorla was brought down by Ali al-Hassan five yards outside the box.

The Spaniard lined up for the free-kick and his sublime effort sailed over the Al Nassr wall, dipped and settled in the net past the despairing Brad Jones in goal.

Both sides then went in search of their second goals, with Sami al-Najei coming close for Al Nassr in the 65th minute while Boualem Khoukhi, who scored Al Sadd's equaliser against Foolad, saw his header saved by Jones two minutes later.

Al Nassr, however, upped their tempo and Hamdallah should have done better with his header in the 77th minute but the Saudi Arabian side were not to be denied two minutes later with Abdulmajeed al-Sulayhim finishing a fine team move which started with Jones, slotting the ball home past Meshaal Barsham.

There was to be a third as Khalid al-Ghannam finished a counter-attack in the fourth minute of added time to complete the win for Al Nassr.



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