Qatar Football AssociationNews
26.02.2017 6:31 in :

Doha: Lekhwiya’s last AFC Champions League appearance at the Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium resulted in a demoralising 4-0 reversal to compatriots El Jaish in the first leg of last year’s round of 16 to effectively bring an end to Djamel Belmadi’s side’s continental run.

Back at their home venue in the opening round of 2017 fixtureson Monday, there was to be no such capitulation, as a controlled performance from start to finish saw a well-oiled Lekhwiya cruise to a 3-0 victory over Al Jazira of the United Arab Emirates to set the early pace in Group B.

While the prolific Youssef El Arabi again grabbed the headlines – he boasts a strike rate of more than a goal a game during the current campaign – it was Qatar international Boudiaf who controlled the flow of the tie, allowing those around him to flourish.

Boudiaf played a crucial role in the Moroccan striker’s opening goal on 11 minutes, coolly playing in Tunisian Youssef Msakni to cross for El Arabi to head home.

Lekhwiya, largely due to a string of world-class saves from goalkeeper Ali Khaseif, didn’t increase their lead until 10 minutes from time, but this was as dominant a performance as was seen in week one of the continental competition and Boudiaf dictated the play throughout.

The number of passes between Boudiaf and midfield teammate Nam Tae-hee (27) was the top passing combination on the pitch while, tellingly, a look at the influential Qatari player’s average position shows him stationed exactly in the centre of the field.