AFC Champions League: Al Duhail Loses to Al Nassr (KSA) 2-3

Doha, November 07 – Al Duhail lost to Al Nassr (KSA) 3-2 in the Group E of the AFC Champions League match that took place at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on Tuesday.

Al Duhail came racing out of the blocks and were in front inside eight minutes. Michael Olunga applied the high press on Al Nassr defender Mohammed Al Fatil, dispossessing him then setting up a low cross for the onrushing Philippe Coutinho who poked it into the bottom corner for his first AFC Champions League goal.

In the absence of club captain Cristiano Ronaldo, the onus was on Talisca to deliver the goods, and he had his first sight of goal after 17 minutes when he headed a cross from his countryman Alex Telles but couldn’t keep it low enough.

Talisca got his way in the 27th minute when he exchanged passes with Abdulrahman Ghareeb outside the Al Duhail area before turning and sending an effort with his weaker right foot into the bottom corner to equalise for the visitors.

Goalkeeper Salah Zakaria was called upon to make a double save nine minutes before the break when Ghareeb picked up Sami Al Naji’s pass on the edge of the area, then powered a strike that was saved by the Al Duhail goalkeeper but fell into the path of Al Naji whose header on the rebound was tame and collected by Zakaria.

There was not much the Qatari goalkeeper could do a minute later when Talisca picked up Sadio Mane’s pass and drilled one into the back of the net from 30 yards out to add his second of the night.

Olunga had a golden chance to restore parity in the 64th minute when Telles attempted to clear Almoez Ali’s cross from the left flank, but the ball fell for the Kenyan international who controlled and fired from close range, but goalkeeper Nawaf Al Aqidi produced a fine save to deny him.

A minute later, Talisca completed his hat-trick after a quick counter-attack saw him exchange passes with Ghareeb before calmly slotting home from the return pass with the Al Duhail defence and goalkeeper all over the place.

Coutinho revived Al Duhail’s hopes, adding his second of the night 10 minutes from time from the penalty spot. It was the Brazilian’s shot from outside the area that struck the hand of Marcelo Brozovic, prompting the referee to award a penalty that the former Liverpool and Barcelona man duly converted.

Al Duhail’s chances were shattered three minutes into the eight minutes of added time when substitute Khaled Mohammed was sent-off six minutes after coming on, following an assault on Al Nassr midfielder Otavio, leaving his side a man down.

Al Nassr were denied a fourth goal deep in added time when Mane broke free down the right and crossed for substitute Ayman Yahya who beat the goalkeeper, but watched his finish bounce back off the upright.

The 3-2 win means Al Nassr need just one point from their remaining two matches to book their place in the Round of 16, with a decisive encounter at home against Persepolis next. Meanwhile, Al Duhail are officially eliminated with just one point from their four matches in the group and face third-place Istiklol in their next match.

Source: Qatar News Agency