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Xavi’s Al Sadd reach semi-finals of the Champions League

xavi, al sadd
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Former Barcelona man Xavi’s Qatar side Al Sadd reached the semi-finals of the Asian Champions League.

Xavi punched the air as he celebrated a definitive home performance. His side trailed 2-0 from the first leg but ran out 3-1 victors in the second leg at home.

The 4-3 aggregate score was enough to secure progress in the continental competition.

Akram Afif, Al Sadd’s centre-forward, put on a spectacle just about all night.

Afif broke the deadlock on the night when he scored the first goal in the 26th minute with a simple header. The assist was courtesy of an inch-perfect chip from South Korean Nam Tae-hee.

Al Nassr hit right back though to equalise through Abderrazak Hamdallah in the 33rd minute.

Moroccan Hamdallah struck a goal-bound free-kick from outside the box.

After taking a wicked deflection off Atletico Madrid player Gabi, it found the back of the net completely wrong-footing Al Sadd goalkeeper Saad al-Sheeb.

It was a game full of opportunities for both sides, as the looked to gain the upper hand.

It was however Xavi’s captain Hassan al-Haydos shot from outside the box that dipped nicely into the top right corner. Australian goalkeeper Brad Jones was well beaten.

Al Sadd seized the momentum with that lead and went looking to score more goals and secure their progression in the competition.

In the 89th minute when al-Haydos released Afif with a perfect pass this was surely the moment to wrap up the game.

The move was brought to a grinding halt when Abdulla Madu brought down Afif.

The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Al Sadd’s Algerian Baghdad Bounedjah made no mistake. He smashed the penalty into the top right corner, where no keeper was going to save it.

That put the score at 3-1 on the night, and 4-3 on aggregate.

After the game acording to beIn Sports Xavi said:

“We never lost hope after the first leg defeat and I had drilled into the players the importance of staying upbeat.”

“They lived up to their promise and now we are one step away from the final.”