Afif injury time winner stuns spirited Al Khor
January 21 2020 10:39 PM
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Akram Afif
Al Sadd’s Akram Afif (right) celebrates after scoring the winner against Al Khor in the QNB Stars League match Tuesday. PICTURE: Noushad Thekkayil

By Sports Reporter/Doha

Akram Afif’s injury-time winner sealed a comeback win for Al Sadd against Al Khor in the QNB Stars League match Tuesday. The Week 7 fixture was rescheduled due to the Sadd’s AFC Champions League commitment.
Tiago Bezerra had given Al Khor the lead in the fourth minute, before Nam Tae-hee equalised for Al Sadd in the 29th minute. It looked like both the teams were sharing points but Afif’s strike in the 96th minute broke Al Khor’s hearts.
The hard-fought victory meant defending champions Sadd are sixth points behind leaders Duhail in the points table. Sadd are in third place with 24 points, four behind second-placed Al Rayyan.
Sadd coach Xavi Hernandez was a relieved man after the victory, which the Spaniard called an important one. “I am very happy with the victory, especially as it came after we went a goal behind,” he said. “It was a difficult match but we deserved to win. We played an attacking game against a strong line of defence for Al Khor,” he added.
It was Sadd’s eighth victory as Al Khor remained in the 10th position with nine points following their seventh defeat.
Al Khor gave Al Sadd a scare by scoring an early goal as Tiago volleyed the ball home amid confusion among the Al Sadd defenders following Ahmed Hammoudan’s first attempt at the goal.
Barring the goal, it was all Al Sadd in the first half as The Wolves attacked in waves, with Baghdad Bounedjah, Akram Afif and Nam at the helm of affairs. Nam helped Al Sadd draw level with a diving volley from close after Bounedjah set him up by chesting down a cross from the right by Hashim Ali.
Bounedjah, Nam and Akram kept making attempts at the rival goal even after the game resumed. Al Sadd attackers gave a harrowing time to Al Khor, whose performance upped considerably in the second half, often through counter-attacks.
Tiago could not properly connect a free-kick in the 55th minute and Al Khor’s new recruit Lucca Borges sent his shot wide in the 68th minute.
Soon, Al Sadd’s Ali Asad had a goal ruled out offside through VAR, but their persistent efforts paid off finally when Akram slammed home a weak clearance from Al Khor goalkeeper Baba Djibril following a Nam free-kick from the left.
Xavi praised Afif for bailing the team out of trouble. “Afif’s goal is very important because he gave us three points and put us six points away from topping the table. I was worried after winning the Qatar Cup that the performance would fall and I told the players that, and this made it difficult for us to match today,” he said
“We have a great personality and the ability to make a comeback. We are making the matches difficult for ourselves, and I hope that we will be in full focus during the upcoming matches and that we will not accept early goals,” he added.

Last updated: January 22 2020 09:00 AM


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