Al Duhail SC got their 2020 AFC Champions League off to a positive restart with a 2-1 win over Sharjah FC in Group C on Tuesday to keep pace with Al Taawoun at the top of the group.
New signing Ramin Rezaeian struck the pick of the goals to send Al Duhail 2-0 up early in the second half after Almoez Ali had taken the lead for the Qataris in the 40th minute.
An Igor Coronado penalty would prove to be merely consolation for Sharjah as coach Walid Regragui’s men held out for the three points.
The Iranian international had joined Al Duhail three weeks ago after enjoying a magnificent individual 2019-20 season, scoring 13 times from right wing despite his former side Al Shahania finishing bottom of the Qatar Stars League.
“I would like to congratulate my teammates on getting the three points. We know this is a difficult competition and we are happy to have won this match,” said Rezaeian after being named Man of the Match at Education City Stadium on Tuesday.
“I am honoured to sign for Al Duhail. It is a big move for me and I promised myself to give it everything when I arrived. My goal is to stay here and do everything I can to fight for the name of Al Duhail and defend the colours of the club.
“I trained a lot for free-kicks and my teammates told me that I will score a free-kick soon. I am happy that they believed in me. For us to be successful we have to come together as a team, and I believe we did that today and we did well as a team.
“We must be even stronger in the next game. We played a good game, but we will forget it and focus on the next match.”
For Sharjah, the result meant a first win in the AFC Champions League since 2004 would have to wait, but head coach Abdulaziz Al Anbari is convinced his side are going in the right direction.
“Congratulations to Al Duhail. We knew this would be a difficult match against a difficult team who are in form at the moment,” said the 43-year-old.
“We played conservatively in the first half, trying to make sure we did not concede. It worked well but we conceded in the 40th minute. Our plan was to start changing gradually, but the second goal made it difficult for us. Al Duhail are a strong team and it was just not our night.
“We know Al Duhail have a lot of quality players, and we know the next match will be more difficult, but we are here to fight until the end. We are satisfied with our performance today regardless of the result.”
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