El Jaish put one foot in the quarter-finals of the 2016 AFC Champions League yesterday after an emphatic 4-0 win over Qatar Stars League rivals Lekhwiya left Djamal Belmadi’s side with a mountain to climb in next week’s second leg of the Round of 16.
Lekhwiya’s Chico Flores (centre) attempts an acrobatic clearance during the AFC Champions League match against Jaish yesterday.
Romarinho and Hamedallah Abdurazzaq scored in the first half before a third from Mohamed Methnani nine minutes into the second half added further gloss to an impressive performance by Sabri Lamouchi’s team.
Romarinho claimed a fourth four minutes from time to put the result beyond any doubt as El Jaish avenged their loss to Lekhwiya in the semi-finals of the Emir Cup last week.
The two clubs will meet again next Wednesday with Lekhwiya needing to score at least four goals to harbour any hope of reaching the quarter-finals for the second time in the club’s history.
El Jaish, who reached the knockout stage as winners of Group D, started the more aggressively of the two teams and Ahmad Moein had the first sight of goal in the ninth minute, thumping his low shot from outside area, only for it to miss Amine Lacomte’s right post by centimetres. Six minutes later at the other end, Alain Dioko Kaluyituka saw his attempt from similar distance deflected wide of the Lekhwiya goal.
By the 17th minute, however, El Jaish had taken the lead. The Lekhwiya defence failed to clear their lines and the ball eventually fell at the feet of Romarinho, whose initial shot rebounded back off the post, only to fall at the Brazilian’s feet once again and this time he made no mistake.
El Jaish continued to look the more dangerous of the two teams as the clock ticked towards halftime, with Methnani trying his luck from distance, and with only a minute left in the half, Abderazzaq doubled his side’s lead with a fine individual goal.
Picking the ball up inside his own half after being gifted possession by Lekhwiya, the Moroccan powered forwards, holding off Ahmed Yasser as he raced into the penalty area before slotting the ball between Lacomte’s legs and into the goal.
Nine minutes after the restart, El Jaish increased their advantage further when Methnani headed home from the edge of the six-yard box.
And while Kaluyituka had the chance to reduce the deficit with 20 minutes to go, only to shoot just wide of the top corner of Khalifa Ababacar’s goal, Romarinho completed the rout four minutes from time when he scored from close range as El Jaish hit on the counterattack.
Mizunuma brace leaves Eriksson’s Shanghai SIPG seeing double
A superb brace by Kota Mizunuma rocked Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Shanghai SIPG as they lost 2-1 to FC Tokyo in the AFC Champions League Round of 16 first leg yesterday.
Mizunuma’s cheeky free kick routine put the hosts ahead just before half-time and he volleyed a stunning winner on 65 minutes, after Wu Lei had briefly put SIPG level.
The victory leaves FC Tokyo dreaming of their first Champions League quarter-final, while SIPG are up against it in next week’s return leg in Shanghai.
Elsewhere a brilliant Leonardo free kick earned 2006 champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors a 1-1 away draw against Melbourne Victory.
In Tokyo, Mizunuma opened the scoring on 43 minutes when he swept a close-range free kick low and through the legs of team-mate Sota Hirayama, who was standing in the SIPG wall.
Argentine playmaker Dario Conca was at the heart of SIPG’s response and he set up the equaliser with a pass to Lu Wenjun, whose rebounded effort was snapped up by Wu Lei on 55 minutes.
But Mizunuma drilled Tokyo back in front 10 minutes later when he ran on to Yuhei Tokunaga’s cross and volleyed side-footed through the arms of goalkeeper Yan Junling.
Shanghai SIPG are debutants this year but Eriksson’s men have the look of seasoned campaigners, with Conca and Elkeson both winners of the competition with Guangzhou Evergrande.
Now to see what happens next.
Lekhwiya SC (Qat) 0 - 4 El Jaish (Qat)
Melbourne Victory (Aus) 1 – 1 Jeonbuk (Kor)
FC Tokyo (Jpn) 2 – 1 Shanghai SIPG (Chn)
Al Nasr (Uae) 4 – 1 Tractor (Irn)
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