Lekhwiya hit 3 in Riyadh, set date with Al Sadd
Riyadh: Lekhwiya sealed top spot in Group A of the 2015 AFC Champions League on Wednesday with a comprehensive 3-1 win over Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr at the King Fahd International Stadium, with Korea Republic international Nam Tae-hee the star of the show.
Nam scored one, set up another and won the penalty for the third against an Al Nassr side that played the final 40 minutes with 10 men following Omar Hawsawi’s 50thminute sending off.
Youssef Msakni put Lekhwiya in front before Nam doubled his side’s lead only for Hassan Al Raheb to pull one back just before half time.
But Sebastian Soria’s penalty in the 58thminute put the result beyond any doubt as the Qataris finished with a comfortable cushion at the top of Group A.
Michael Laudrup’s side will now face compatriots Al Sadd in the Round of 16 and the Qatar Stars League champions will be a confident frame of mind after an impressive performance against the Riyadh-based club.
Lekhwiya went into the halftime break leading after a pulsating 45 minutes in which Al Nassr started brightest before two goals in four minutes saw the Qataris race into the lead.
Omar Hawsawi and Adrian Mierzejewski both forced Lekhwiya goalkeeper Amine Lacomte into action in the first 15 minutes while Al Raheb sent his effort across the face of goal just two minutes later as the home side dominated.
But, in the 28thminute and against the run of play, Lekhwiya took the lead when Msakni rose above the Al Nassr defence to head Nam’s corner goalward and Al Nassr keeper Abdullah Al Enezi was unable to keep the effort from crossing the line.
Four minutes later, the Qatari club doubled their advantage, with Nam netting a fine finish after playing a one-two with Msakni whose ball over the top left the Al Nassr defence flatfooted allowing the Korean to clip his effort home.
Lekhwiya’s quick-fire double salvo forced a reaction from an Al Nassr side needing to win to progress to the knockout phase of the competition and, by the 36thminute, the Saudis had halved the deficit.
Fabian Estoyanoff played the ball over the Lekhwiya defence to Adrian and his cutback into the centre was somehow turned over the line by Al Raheb despite the attention of two defenders.
The goal gave Al Nassr a lifeline, but that was severed five minutes after the restart when Hawsawi was shown a direct red card for upending Soria on the edge of the penalty area after the Saudi defender had needlessly given the ball away deep in his own half.
Eight minutes later the result was sealed when the lively Nam was felled by Bahraini defender Mohamed Husain and referee Kim Jong-hyeok had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot, from where Soria emphatically hammered the final nail into Al Nassr’s knockout phase hopes.