Al Sadd reach final round of ACL play-offs
Doha: Goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb was Al Sadd’s hero as he saved Riffa defender Ozeia’s penalty in sudden death to take the 2011 winners into the final round of the AFC Champions League play-off as they defeated their Bahraini visitors 11-10 on penalties following a 0-0 draw after 120 minutesin Tuesday’s Preliminary Round.
In a lengthy spot-kick shootout that went into the second run through of players with the scores tied at10 apiece, Khalfan Ibrahim scored for a second time before Brazilian Ozeia failed with the decisive penalty attempt at Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium.
Al Sadd, who will look to make it their 10thappearancein the continental competition after reaching the quarter-finals last year, will now travel to the United Arab Emirates next Tuesday to face Abu Dhabi club Al Wahda for a place in Group A.
In Doha, Al Sadd had the upper hand right from kick off against Riffa and the home side had the lion’s share of possession for almost the entirety of the first half but were unable to pose any real danger as they struggled to create any openings in the first 25 minutes of the match with the game mired in the midfield.
The best chance for the hosts to end the stalemate came just before the end of first half after a quick attack on the left saw Qatar forward Ibrahim make his way into the area but his powerful left-foot shot was blocked by Riffa goalkeeper Sayed Shubbar.
After the interval,Al Sadd looked to keep the pressure on the visitors at the start of the second half but while they failed to create many chances, Riffa were able to break the Al Sadd stranglehold and tried to create some danger for the Qataris.
Goal-mouth action was still few and far between but on 65 minutes Ibrahim was involved again, this time letting fly from outside the area but Shubbar denied the former AFC Player of The Year once again.
Unable to end the stalemate in the regulation 90 minutes, the match went into extra-time and in the very last minute of the extra 30 Ibrahim went even closer, receiving a pass in the area and firing a powerful right foot volley that saw the ball rebound off the post.
With no winner still decided, the match went into a penalty shootout and after 11 takers a side and the scores level at 10-10, Ibrahim was able to find the net from the spot once more but Ozeia, who had missed earlier in the shootout, proved to have no such luck.