Sneijder, Amado on target as Al Gharafa reach group stage
Doha: Dutch star Wesley Sneijder earned Al Gharafa the perfect start as Qatar giants stormed into the group stage of the AFC Champions League (ACL) with a convincing 2-1 win against Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor Tashkent yesterday.
At Jassim bin Hamad Stadium yesterday, the team’s newest member, Sneijder converted a penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner in the 21st minute to give them the much needed lead.
Diogo Amado, assisted by Mehdi Taremi, doubled the lead just seven minutes later with a brilliant right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner as the home team took a comfortable 2-0 lead before going into half time break.
Both teams failed to find the back of the net by the 90-minute mark, buy Tashkent tried to fight back strongly in the final minutes of the game.
Eventually, Jasurbek Khakimov beat the Al Gharafa goalkeeper in the third minute of injury time. Khakimov’s left footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal.
Despite their efforts, Shneijder’s Al Gharafa made it to the Group Stage and will join UAE’s Al Jazira, Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli and Iran’s Tractorsasi.