Impressive El Jaish Post Win in ACL
Doha: A penalty from Nilmar and a late strike from substitute Rami Fayez gave Qatar’s El Jaish a comfortable 2-0 victory over Saudi Arabia champions Al Fateh in their AFC Champions League Group B match on Tuesday.
In a match dominated by the home side, who remain undefeated in this year’s competition, their goalless and winless visitors struggled to find an opening and the task was made harder on 58 minutes when Nilmar converted a penalty for the Qatari club.
Despite the superiority of El Jaish, it was not until a minute before time that all three points were secured with a goal from second half substitute Fayez.
The win puts Nabil Maaloul’s side back on top of Group B ahead of Foolad Khouzestan, who defeated Bunyodkor 1-0 in the day’s earlier game, by virtue of a superior goal difference and with an excellent chance of at least matching last year’s Round of 16 appearance.
Al Fateh coach Fathi Al Jebali had spoken of this fixture being a must-win, but right from the off it was El Jaish who were in control as Nilmar twice went close with headers in the opening exchanges.
And midway through the first half an in-swinging free-kick from Jires Kembo-Ekoko on the left side nearly caught Ali Mazidi off-guard and the custodian had to make an arching save to turn over his own crossbar.
The momentum continued much the same following the interval as Kembo-Ekoko went close again just four minutes into the second half with a volley from the edge of the penalty area, although he was again denied by Mazidi diving to his left to push the shot wide.
But Al Fateh’s resistance was not to last and two minutes before the hourmark, defender Badr Al Nakly was adjudged to have handled in the penalty area and Nilmar coolly converted the spot kick with a side-footed finish high to the keeper’s left.
Despite their endeavours, the away side had been unable to create a chance of note until they almost broke their drought in front of goal in spectacular fashion with 11 minutes of the match remaining.
Hamdan al Hamdan headed a high ball in the direction of Congolese striker Doris Salomo on the edge of the penalty area and the agile forward swiveled into position for a stunning overhead kick that needed a solid save from El Jaish goalkeeper Ahmed Sofyan.
The effort heartened the away side, but as they pushed forward to make the most of the swing in momentum, they were left exposed at the back and were punished and in the closing minutes second half substitute Fayez was put through one-on-one with Mazidi and his composed finish, side-footed low with his left as the goalkeeper committed himself, sealed the win for his side.