DOHA: From Baghdad Bounedjah an equalizer who is two minutes from time earned Qatar’s Al Sadd a 1-1 draw with Al Nassr in Doha on Monday which saw them progress to the last 16 of the Asian Champions League along with their Saudi opponents.
On Friday Al Nassr secured their passage and a first-half Khalid Al-Ghannam goal had them on course to lock up top spot in Group D until Algerian striker Bounedjah curled the ball into the back of the net for the twice Asian champions.
Iran’s Sepahan had any hopes of qualifying from Group ‘D’ disappeared after they were unable to find the net in a 0-0 stalemate against bottom club Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates.
Brazilian striker Welliton scored a second-half hat-trick as they kept alive their hopes of a spot in the last 16 with a thumping 6-0 win over Al Taawoun that blew Group ‘C’ wide open and Sharjah had no such problems with it.
After Al Duhail’s 1-0 win over Iran’s Persepolis Qatar’s Al Duhail are the favourites to progress but all four teams will have a chance of grabbing one of the two spots in the knockout stages going into Friday’s final round of matches.
In the previous matches Sharjah had scored twice in the last 15 minutes for a comeback win over Al Duhail and continued their late scoring exploits after a Saif Rashid header had given them a 1-0 halftime lead at Education City Stadium.
Welliton scored the first of his three in the 49th moment with comrade Caio and substitute Mohammed Abdulbasit likewise finding the objective as the Emirati outfit went out of control at the arena worked for the 2022 World Cup.
Productive Qatar striker Almoez Ali, the main scorer at the last Asian Cup, got Al Duhail back to winning ways with a sure completion from the punishment spot on the hour mark.
Persepolis and Sharjah, who are secured together second and third spot on seven focuses, meet in Friday’s first standoff before the gathering heads Al Duhail (nine) take on Saudi base side Al Taawoun (six).
The gathering phase of the western portion of the landmass’ head club rivalry continued in Qatar a week ago following a seven-month Covid closure.
Matches in the four East Asian gatherings continue in a center in Malaysia in October. The last will be in Doha on December 19.