Qatar Football AssociationNews
18.02.2015 3:57 in :

Abu Dhabi: Al Sadd goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb saved from Hussain Fadhel in the shootout and former AFC Player of the Year Khalfan Ibrahim scored a hat-trick as former champions Al Sadd edged out Al Wahda of the United Arab Emirates 5-4 on penalties following an enthralling 4-4 draw after extra-time in Tuesday’s play-off.

Mohamed Al Shehhi appeared to have secured victory for the home side, who had been reduced to nine men following a second-half coming together which also saw Al Sadd’s Mohammed Kasola dismissed, as the midfielder netted in second-half stoppage time only for Ibrahim’s second of the night to dramatically send the tie into extra-time.

Ibrahim then scored for Al Sadd in the first half of extra-time only for Ismail Matar to equalise for Al Wahda and sent the tie to penalties, which eventually saw Al Sheeb emerge as the hero in sudden death by denying Fadhel.

Al Sadd, who won the title in 2011 having started in the play-offs, will now take their place in Group C alongside Iran’s Foolad Khouzestan, Uzbekistan’s Lokomotiv and last year’s runners-up Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia having won a second consecutive penalty shootout in the qualifiers following last week’s 11-10 success over Bahrain’s Al Riffa.

Al Wahda had made the ideal start as the home side opened the scoring after just eight minutes as a long ball from the back sent Sebastian Tagliabue free down the right wing after beating the offside trap and the Argentinean striker eventually cut into the penalty area before squaring the ball for Damian Diaz to fire into the unguarded net from the edge of the six yard area.

Al Sadd did make a better start to the second half and equalised just 10 minutes after the restart as a superb slide-rule pass from Talal Al Bloushi from well inside his own half played in Yusef Ahmed, and after the striker had held off the challenge of Khalid Bawazir, he fired under advancing goalkeeper Adel Al Hosani.

And Al Hosani was beaten again in the 66thminute as a long ball forward found Hasan Al Haydos on the right wing and the forward cut inside before rolling the ball across the edge of the penalty area for the onrushing Ibrahim to sweep home a first-time effort into the bottom corner.

The scores, though, were level just six minutes later as Diaz teed up Amer Omar on the right hand side of the area to flash a shot across Al Sheeb into the far corner.

With both sides going for the winning goal, Al Wahda thought they had taken the crucial lead two minutes into stoppage time as Matar’s driven free-kick from 25 yards out fell at the feet of Al Shehhi inside the area and he unleashed a rasping drive past Al Sheeb and into the roof of the net.

A mass coming together of players shortly after saw Al Wahda’s Diaz and Adil Hermach receive red cards while Al Sadd’s Kasola was also given his marching orders.

But there was still time for Al Sadd to equalise in added time as Nadir Belhadj’s corner broke to Ibrahim on the edge of the penalty area, and although he miss-hit his first effort, the ball broke to the Qatar international for a second time and this time his effort soared into the top right corner to take the match to extra-time.

And eight minutes into the first half of extra-time Ibrahim completed his hat-trick as a deft flick on the edge of the penalty area from Brazilian substitute Grafite played in the striker and he made no mistake with a composed finish past Al Hosani.

But three minutes into the second period Matar, having hit the wall with two similar set-pieces at the end of the first half, guided the ball expertly over the Al Sadd wall and into the top corner.

And after neither side was able to make further inroads over the remaining minutes, the penalty shootout went to sudden death as Grafite missed for Al Sadd and Omar missed for Al Wahda.

But in the first round of sudden death Abdelkarim Hassan found the target and Kuwaiti defender Fadhel saw his penalty saved by Al Sheeb to hand Al Sadd victory.