Doha (AFP) – Almoez Ali scored one goal and assisted another as Qatar giants Al-Duhail beat the UAE’s former winners Al Ain 2-0 on Tuesday to increase their chances of qualifying for the knockout phase of the Asian Champions League.
Al-Duhail, who were dethroned as Qatar Stars League champions earlier this month by Al Sadd, had been in trouble in the continental tournament with only one win from three matches.
But Rui Faria’s outfit dominated their Group C rivals with a clinical display at the Azza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain with Ali hitting the kind of form which won him player of the tournament award at this year’s Asian Cup which Qatar won.
Ali was in the thick of the action in the third minute of play, scoring with a diving header off an Edmilson pass to put Al-Duhail ahead.
The action picked up after that with 2003 champions Al Ain desperate for the equaliser and creating a few chances in quick succession.
Bandar al-Ahbabi’s free-kick sailed inches over the crossbar and Ahmed Barman also missed from close range, shooting wide.
Al-Duhail, however, had to wait until the 66th minute to consolidate their lead, with their second goal resulting from a series of passes which saw the ball reaching Ali on the left wing.
The lanky striker got rid of a defender to cross the ball for Shoya Nakajima, who in turn deftly stepped over the ball to hoodwink the defence, allowing Youssef El Arabi to easily score past goalkeeper Khalid Eissa.
Al-Duhail stay second in the group on seven points as leaders Saudi’s Al Hilal edged Iran’s Esteghlal 1-0 for their third victory of the tournament.
Former Juventus player Sebastian Giovinco scored the only goal of the match thanks to an assist from Nawaf al-Abid.
In Group A, Iran’s Zob Ahan continued their unbeaten run with a 2-0 win over the UAE’s Al Wasl in the steel city of Fooladshahr, Iran.
Alireza Cheraghali put the hosts ahead in the second minute and Amir Motahari made it 2-0 after a quarter of an hour as Zobahan recorded their third win that helped them reach 10 points and sit pretty at the top.
Saudi Arabia’s Al-Nassr, meanwhile took second spot in Group A with six points, bouncing back from a goal down to beat Iraq’s Al Zawraa in Karbala.