Al-Sadd resumed their AFC Champions League 2020 campaign with a 3-3 draw against Al-Ain, in their Group D clash on Matchday 3 of the competition, which was played at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium on Tuesday.
Kodjo Laba gave Al-Ain the lead (5’) before Akram Afif equalised for Al-Sadd (35’). A few minutes later, Bauryzhan Islamkhan put Al-Ain in front once again (38’) and they went into halftime with the lead. Al-Sadd levelled the score through Santi Cazorla in the second half (55’), with Baghdad Bounedjah then adding a third goal (60’) to put Al-Sadd ahead for the first time. However, a Khoukhi Boualem own goal (67’) meant that the two teams would share the spoils.
The result means that Al-Sadd now have a tally of 5 points from 3 games, after a win and two draws.
Al-Sadd looked for a strong start at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium but were dealt an early blow, when Laba scored in the fifth minute. The Al-Ain striker finished off a cross from the right to put his side ahead.
After that goal, the Wolves pushed forward in search of the equaliser. However, it proved elusive. Boualem came closest, leaning forward to head in a cross from Al-Haydos, but the Al-Ain keeper kept it out.
In the 35th minute, Pedro had a close range shot saved but moments later, Afif finally managed to level the score. Nam Tae-hee crossed into the box from the right, and an unmarked Afif was at the right place to finish calmly.
Three minutes later, Al-Ain were back in front. Islamkhan sent a looping shot into the goal over Saad Al-Dosari to make it 2-1. That’s how the first half would end.
After the halftme break, Al-Sadd came out of the tunnel with renewed desire and increased the pressure on the Al-Ain goal. In the 49th minute, Afif almost scored but his shot deflected out off the post.
Then, in the 55th minute, Cazorla equalised for Al-Sadd. The Spanish star received a pass from Bounedjah on the edge of the box and sent a low shot past the Al-Ain keeper, scoring his first goal in the AFC Champions League on his tournament debut.
Five minutes later, Al-Sadd scored again, and this time, it was Bounedjah who struck, finishing from close range after a pass from Nam.
However, the celebrations were short-lived, as Al-Ain managed to score in the 67th minute. Bandar Al-Ahbabi sent in a free-kick and the ball went in off Boualem’s head.
Xavi Hernandez sent on substitutes Yousuf Abdurisag and Mohammed Waad in place of Al-Haydos and Nam, to freshen the attack, but despite the team’s best efforts, the winner never arrived.
The last throw of the dice came in stoppage time, with Tabata replacing Afif. Cazorla delivered a great ball from a corner, only for Abdelkarim Hassan’s header to go wide of the far post. Moments later, the full time whistle went and Al-Sadd had to be satisfied with just one point.
Al-Ain x Al-Sadd (AFC Champions League Group D – Matchday 3)
Jassim bin Hamad Stadium
Al-Sadd: Saad Al-Dosari, Pedro Miguel, Tarek Salman, Abdelkarim Hassan, Khoukhi Boualem, Guilherme Torres, Santi Cazorla, Nam Tae-hee (Mohammed Waad), Hassan Al-Haydos (Yousuf Abdurisag), Akram Afif (Rodrigo Tabata), Baghdad Bounedjah
Al-Ain: Khaled Eisa, Shiotani, Salem Abdullah, Mohammed Shaker, Mohamemd Abdulrahman (Jamal Maroof), Bandar Al Ahbabi, Bauyrzhan Islamkhan (Yahya Nader), Ahmed Barman, Caio Canedo (Rayan Yaslam), Wilson Eduardo (Ismael Ahmed), Kodjo Laba
5′ Kodjo Laba
35′ Akram Afif
39′ Bayurzhan Islamkhan
55′ Santi Cazorla
60′ Baghdad Bounedjah
67′ Khouhkhi Boualem (OG)
28′ Wilson Eduardo
56′ Mohammed Abdulrahman
57′ Baghdad Bounedjah
58′ Mohammed Shaker
H. Dilan Perera (Main referee)
D. Hemathunga (Assistant 1)
S. Hewage (Assistant 2)
Hanna Hattab (Fourth official)