By Sports Reporter/Doha
QNB Stars League champions Al Duhail sealed an emphatic 4-1 win over Al Ain in the second leg of their 2018 AFC Champions League Round of 16 showdown yesterday, progressing to the quarter-finals 8-3 on aggregate.
Duhail remain the only team with a 100 percent win record this year in the continental championship, having won eight matches out of eight.
At the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium, the hosts wasted no time in taking full control and were rewarded with a goal inside 11 minutes when Nam Tae-hee advanced down the left and sent a low ball across the goalmouth that was inadvertently converted by defender Mohamed Ahmad past his own goalkeeper.
Al Duhail doubled their tally at the half-hour mark through Youssef El Arabi who stabbed in Ismail Mohamed’s powerful cross from the right flank.
Very little changed after the break as the Qataris continued to attack in numbers and soon found the net for a third time. El Arabi sent defender Sultan al-Brake through on goal and the latter attempted to lob goalkeeper Khalid Eisa who was able to get his fingertips on the ball before it fell for Mohammad who tapped into the empty net in the 54th minute.
Coach Djamel Belmadi’s men heaped more misery on their visitors as El Arabi caught up with Baghdad Bounedjah at the top of the competition’s scorers chart, converting his ninth goal of the campaign from the penalty spot following a hand ball from defender Mohanad Salem four minutes from time.
Omar Abdulrahman netted a consolation goal for Al Ain in the dying seconds of the game from a penalty kick after he was fouled inside the box by defender Abdullah al-Ahrak.
Al Ain is still the only UAE side to win the Champions League. They lifted the title in 2003, and last failed to reach the quarter-finals in 2015.
Al Duhail join fellow Qatari side Al Sadd and Iran’s Persepolis and Esteghlal in the quarter-finals from West Asia. In Tehran, Mame Thiam was the hero as his hat-trick gave Esteghlal a 3-1 win over Zobahan in the Round of 16 second leg tie yesterday, with Esteghlal advancing to the quarter-finals 3-2 on aggregate.
In the East Asia, Tianjin Quanjian eliminated fellow Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande from the AFC Champions League yesterday, progressing to the quarter-finals on away goals after a breathless 2-2 draw in their Round of 16 second leg tie at Tianhe Stadium in Guangzhou.
Meanwhile, Buriram United’s brave run in the AFC Champions League came to an end yesterday as a 2-0 loss at Jeonbuk saw them bow out of the 4-3 on aggregate.
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