Al Sadd snatch AFC Champions League title on penalties

Updated: 05 November 2011 21:28 IST

Qatar's Al Sadd shocked South Korea's Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 4-2 on penalties in a thrilling AFC Champions League final on Saturday after they were deadlocked at 2-2 following extra-time.

Al Sadd snatch AFC Champions League title on penalties

Jeonju, South Korea:

Qatar's Al Sadd shocked South Korea's Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 4-2 on penalties in a thrilling AFC Champions League final on Saturday after they were deadlocked at 2-2 following extra-time.

Former Portsmouth left-back Nadir Belhadj fired the winner into the roof of the Jeonbuk net, sparking delirium among the Al Sadd players and breaking the hearts of the near-capacity crowd at the 43,000-seat Jeonju World Cup stadium.

The home side had clawed their way back into the game with an injury-time equaliser, forcing extra-time, but Kim Dong-Chan and Park Won-Jae both fluffed their spot-kicks amid high drama in the Korean city.

Jeonbuk, chasing a second Champions League win after lifting the trophy in 2006, came close several times in a nerve-shredding 30 minutes of extra time, but were repeatedly denied by the underdog visitors.

The victory brought an exhilarating end to a turbulent competition for Al Sadd, who were involved in an ugly mass brawl during their semi-final against South Korea's Suwon Samsung Bluewings.

Abdul Kader Keita, who was one of the players sent off over the semi-final punch-up, looked to have secured a second continental title for Al Sadd with a second-half strike until Lee Sung-Hyun's equaliser in stoppage time.

Earlier imperious Brazilian Eninho had put Jeonbuk ahead with a deliciously curled free-kick on 17 minutes, but an own goal by Sim Woo-Yeon levelled the scores before Keita's speared shot gave the visitors the lead.

Al Sadd's goalkeeper Mohamed Saqr saved two penalties, as Jeonbuk stumbled at the last stop after a free-scoring campaign.

It was a messy but enthralling game, played in front of a raucous crowd, and vindicates Al Sadd coach Jorge Fossati's pre-match warning that his unfancied side deserved to be in the final.

Despite a barrage of jeers, Al Sadd started brightly with strikers Niang and Keita - both back from suspensions after the fight - impressive early on and linking with the excellent Belhadj, who terrorised Jeonbuk's right side.

And when Eninho scored, the expected Jeonbuk goal glut failed to materialise and Al Sadd equalised near the half-hour mark when a seemingly innocuous Keita cross squirted off Sim Woo-Yeon's head and in.

The visitors then shocked the hosts as they took the lead with a sucker-punch counter-attack.

Jeonbuk surged back, hitting the post from a corner and winning a series of free-kicks in and around the box, before finally being rewarded with Lee's goal.

But despite the presence of ex-Premier League striker Lee Dong-Gook, Jeonbuk could not find a way through again and paid the price in the gripping penalty shoot-out.

Topics : Football
Related Articles
Atletico de Kolkata Rally Past Mumbai City 3-2 in First Leg of ISL Semis
Atletico de Kolkata Rally Past Mumbai City 3-2 in First Leg of ISL Semis
Indian Super League: Delhi Dynamos, Kerala Blasters Face Off in Semi-Final
Indian Super League: Delhi Dynamos, Kerala Blasters Face Off in Semi-Final
Cristiano Ronaldo Rested, Zinedine Zidane Seeks Quick Fix to Tax Scandals
Cristiano Ronaldo Rested, Zinedine Zidane Seeks Quick Fix to Tax Scandals
Show Comments
Advertisement