Al Taawoun FC snatched a ticket to the 2020 AFC Champions League Round-of-16 after defeating Al Duhail 1-0 in Group C Thursday.
The two sides had met on Matchday Two, when Al Taawoun scored a 2-0 home win courtesy of goals from Mohamed al-Sahlawi and Abdulmajeed al-Swat.
The first half was cagey and featured missed chances by Mohamed Musa, Edmilson Junior and Dudu for Al Duhail as well as Cedric Amissi for the Saudi side. Deep into stoppage time in the first half, Cassio expertly denied Almoez Ali who struck from the left.
Junior threatened 55 minutes in, and after a break by his side, the Belgian cut inside from the left flank beating two players before curling an effort in from range that Cassio gratefully clutched into his arms.
Amissi got another chance to make his mark on proceedings when he attempted a free-kick on goal, after teammate al-Sahlawi was fouled down the flank. Amissi’s shot was timid, and keeper Mohamed al-Bakri punched away with ease.
The Burundi man got the exact same chance again from the left flank, this time forcing al-Bakri into a save that resulted in a corner; the one which saw a clashing of heads between Ali and Australian striker Mitchell Duke that took a few minutes of stoppage to treat.
The match exploded into life in the final 10 minutes, with Al Duhail missing a golden chance to open the scoring through Ismail Mohamed, who was through on goal with just the keeper to beat and chipped, but substitute Saad Yaslam managed to reach the ball and clear off the line.
A bandaged Duke then dramatically sealed the tie for Al Taawoun after breaking free from his marker in the area to meet Sultan Mandash’s corner and put the ball past al-Bakri.
The result sees Al Duhail crash out of the competition, while Al Taawoun qualify to the Round of 16 for the first time in their history.
Persepolis’ 4-0 win over Sharjah in the other Group C fixture means Al Taawoun will face fellow Saudi side Al Nassr in the next round while Persepolis play Al Sadd.
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