Duhail qualify for last 16 as Al Hilal suffer Rayyan blow


Doha (AFP) – Qatar’s Al Duhail who became the first team to secure their knockout ticket in the Asian Champions League on Monday but Saudi giants Al Hilal’s chances suffered a blow.  

Al Hilal, losers in last year’s final, were off colour against Michael Laudrup’s Al Rayyan who dominated play and created more chances as they won 2-1 in Doha.

The teams had drawn 1-1 last week, but on Monday Abdelrazzaq Hamdallah played a starring role for Al Rayyan to give them their first victory after three consecutive draws.

The Moroccan struck from the penalty spot in the 44th minute after he was brought down by Abdulla al-Zori and then produced a delectable backheel pass inside the box to allow captain Rodrigo Tabata to add the second in the 66th minute.

Yasser al-Qahtani pulled one back for Al Hilal in the 90th minute with a penalty, but that was little consolation as they stayed bottom of Group D with just two points from four matches, leaving them in serious danger of missing the knockout stages of the tournament.

Earlier in Tashkent, Youssef El Arabi scored a brace in second-half injury time as Al Duhail snatched a thrilling win over Uzbek champions Lokomotiv.

Djamel Belmadi’s side had wrapped up the Qatar Stars League title on Friday but had little time to celebrate as they jetted off by chartered flight to the Uzbek capital for their Group B second leg clash.

Their chances of a second victory on the trot over the Central Asians —they had beaten Lokomotiv 3-2 last week in Doha — looked unlikely when 90 minutes had elapsed with the hosts leading 1-0 thanks to a first half goal by Sardor Rashidov.

The script changed dramatically when Almoez Ali was felled in the box by Salim Mustafoev and El Arabi made no mistake from the spot to put Duhail on level terms in the first minute of added time.

There was more drama as El Arabi, the highest scorer in the Qatar Stars League, displayed great calm in the fourth minute to hoodwink his marker and beat Lokomotiv goalkeeper Ignatiy Nesterov to complete a remarkable victory for his side.

Elsewhere, Al Wahda recorded their first victory in four games when they beat Zobahan 3-0 in Abu Dhabi, while Al Ain and Estheghlal played out a 1-1 draw.

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