Al Ahli Saudi FC’s Omar al-Soma scored in added time to cancel out Michael Olunga’s opener for Al Duhail SC as the two sides played out a 1-1 draw in the AFC Champions League group stage on Sunday.
The home side had lost their opening Group C match against Esteghlal by a huge scoreline while their Qatari opponents took all three points against Iraqi side Al Shorta. The two sides had to settle for a draw this time around. A lively start to the match took hold when inside the first minute of play, captain Almoez Ali latched onto Edmilson’s pinpoint cross and narrowly missed Mohammad al-Owais’ far post, as the Qatari side looked to set the tone for the match early on with Olunga narrowly heading wide a few minutes later as well.
Al-Owais was forced into a save when Olunga received a pass from Abdallah Al-Ahrak and carefully placed a right footed shot that the Saudi keeper was more than equal to. Ali once again tested the keeper 10 minutes before the break when he dribbled through the Saudi side’s ranks and fired a shot that was dealt with by al-Owais, after a period of play where the intensity had slightly dropped.
The deadlock was broken less than 10 minutes into the second half, with the home side finally caving under pressure when Edmilson ran down the right flank and crossed the ball into the area -- initially looking like it was aimed for Ali -- but a deflection put into Olunga’s path and the Kenyan made no mistake in front of goal this time.
With the final whistle approaching, goalscorer Olunga missed a golden chance to double his tally and the scoreline when some smart interplay between his teammates culminated in a penalty-shot like situation for the Kenyan. But he he somehow skied it.
Al-Soma equalised for the hosts at the death when Al Duhail’s defence failed to clear a corner that fell to Motaz Hawsawi, who played it to the Syrian, the latter volleying it into the net against the run of play.
The result leaves Al Duhail sitting atop Group C on four points, pending the late game between Esteghlal FC and Al Shorta while Al Ahli sit in third place with a loss and a draw.
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