Al Sadd Cave in to Heavy Defeat in Saudi
Riyadh: Nassir Al Shamrani scored the first hat-trick in this season’s AFC Champions League as Al Hilal put themselves right back into contention for a spot in the last 16 by thrashing former winners Al Sadd of Qatar 5-0 at the King Fahd International Stadium on Tuesday.
Yasser Al Qahtani converted an early penalty for the Saudi club and Sultan Al Duayyi made it 2-0 in the 28th minute before Al Shamrani netted his first off a finely-crafted move.
The striker would then score twice in four second-half minutes to complete his hat-trick as Al Hilal picked up their first win in Group D to move level on five points with Al Sadd and just one point behind leaders Al Ahli of the United Arab Emirates, who played out a 0-0 draw with Iranian side Sepahan.
It was a chastening night for 2011 winners Al Sadd, who were unbeaten in their first three games in the group but made a disastrous start against Al Hilal as they conceded an early penalty after Yasser Al Qahtani was shoved to the ground as he attempted to reach a cross into the Al Sadd box.
The Al Hilal captain took the penalty himself and sent goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb the wrong way to give his side the early advantage.
Al Sadd pressed for an equaliser but they fell further behind just before the half-hour mark when Thiago Neves’ corner from the right was flicked on by Salem Al Dawsari to the far post where Al Duayyi drilled a low shot past an exposed Al Sheeb.
Al Hilal’s third goal arrived in the 34th minute and it came off a well-crafted move as Neves flicked the ball up for Al Dawsari who clipped the ball over to the far post on the volley for Al Shamrani to power a header past Al Sheeb.
Al Sadd went close to pulling a goal back when Lee Jung-soo headed a Nadir Belhadj free-kick narrowly wide before half-time but the game was put to bed after the interval as Al Shamrani netted a pair of quickfire goals.
He netted his second of the game in the 58th minute when he was played through by Al Qahtani and waited for Al Sheeb to commit before slotting it past the Al Sadd goalkeeper.
And he completed his hat-trick four minutes later, turning in a low cross by Abdulla Zori to move level with Al Ain’s Asamoah Gyan at the top of the goalscoring chart with five goals.