13 Feb 2018 - 0:22
ACL: Boudiaf brace gives Al Duhail perfect start
Doha: Karim Boudiaf struck twice while Youssef Msakni added another as Qatari football giants Al Duhail came from behind to record a 3-1 victory over Iran’s Zobahan in their Group B match of the 2018 AFC Champions League (ACL) yesterday.
Brazilian striker Kiros put the visitors in front 10 minutes into the game. Giorgi Gvelesiani’s header was nodded on by Morteza Tabrizi to beat goalkeeper Amine Lecomte, but the forward who had scored twice in the play-off saw his headed effort ricochet off the cross bar and into the path of Kiros who headed home from point-blank range.
The visitors defended resiliently and were successful in keeping Al Duhail attackers at bay, until the 74th minute when Youssef Msakni’s shot was spilled by goalkeeper Mazaheri onto the path of Karim Boudiaf, who drove home the rebound to equalise for the Qataris.
One minute later the defensive midfielder got his second of the night from a powerful header after Nam Tae-hee’s cross from the corner.
The South Korean playmaker was his side’s creative force once more, finding Msakni with a cross that was swept home to round the scoring with five minutes to go and seal an important victory at the start of the campaign for Al Duhail who travel to the UAE to face Al Wanda in their next game on February 19.
In the other Group B encounter which took place yesterday, Uzbekistan’s Lokomotiv Tashkent were off to a flying start in the league campaign following after an impressive 5-0 win at home over Al Wahda of the United Arab Emirates.
The hosts took the lead in the 25th minute when Sanjar Shaakhmedov’s through ball found Nivaldo in the box and the Brazilian slotted home past goalkeeper Rashed Ali to earn the hosts a lead which they took into the break.
Lokomotiv started the second half on the front foot and were 2-0 up eight minutes after the restart, courtesy of a stunning effort from Ikromjon Alibaev with the midfielder’s strike from the halfway line catching Ali off-guard.
Al Wahda’s night went from bad to worse just two minutes later when defender Salem Sultan converted Shukrat Mukhammadiev’s cross into his own net to make it 3-0 to Lokomotiv.
Substitute and new signing Sardor Rashidov then got his name on the scoresheet in the 59th minute, cutting onto his left foot and drilling in a fierce shot that went in at the near post, before Mukhammadiev delivered a perfect cross from the right wing to set up Alibaev, who headed in his second and Lokomotiv’s fifth goal.
Meanwhile, in Abu Dhabi, Wesley Sneijder-led Al Gharafa went down fighting to UAE’s Al Jazira yesterday. The home team recorded their first AFC Champions League home victory since 2014 with a 3-2 win.
Brazilian striker Romarinho broke free on the wing and attempted to find teammate Ali Mabkhout, but his cross found its way to the back of the net, tricking goalkeeper Qassim Burhan in the tenth minute.
The visitors’ response was instant, as former Persepolis striker Mehdi Taremi found space inside Al Jazira’s box to control and fire low past Ali Khaseif within a minute of the hosts’ opener.
The Emirati champions restored their lead in the 26th minute after Moroccan playmaker Mbark Boussoufa sent Mabkhout through on goal with a defence-splitting pass. The UAE international applied a calm finish past Burhan for Al Jazira’s second.
The pick of the goals came in the 69th minute when Romarinho nodded for Ahmed Al Hashmi to strike on the half-volley from 40 yards out, to make it 3-1.
Two minutes later, Qatari international Ahmed Alaeldin twisted and turned inside Al Jazira’s box and unleashed a low drive that hit the upright and fell for Wesley Sneijder to tap in Al Gharafa’s second. His goal proved merely a consolation as Al Jazira walked away with the three points.