5/15/2018 8:49:28 PM

Al Duhail SC thrash Al Ain to storm into AFC Champions League quarterfinal

Al Duhail SC thrash Al Ain to storm into AFC Champions League quarterfinal

Doha: Al Duhail SC dished out yet another masterful performance to thrash Al Ain 4-1 and storm into the quarterfinals of the AFC  Champions League on Tuesday.

Duhail had beaten Al Ain 4-2 away and the 8-3 aggregate victory against the UAE champions underlines the Qatari side's domination over their rivals this season.

The Qatari champions, yet to taste defeat this season, stretched their unbeaten run to 34 games while their winning streak has touched the 20-match mark.

Al Ain needed a 4-1 victory or score more than four times and win by a two-goal margin to progress, but Duhail were on the attack right from the outset and it took them just 12 minutes to take the lead.

Nam Tae-Hee dropped his shoulder to leave his marker stranded and his left-footed cross proved too dangerous for Al Ain to deal with as Mohammad Ahmad, in an attempt to stop it, only managed to slide it into his own net.

After Youssef El Arabi missed a couple of chances, hitting high over the bar once and then drawing a save from Khalid Eisa, Al Ain tested Amine Lecomte through Hussein Ali Hassan.

As they have played the whole season, Duhail were always prepared to attack and though they missed chances aplenty they were rewarded with another goal in the 30th minute.

Ismael Mohammed, a tireless runner who is always willing to play the part of the unsung hero, provided the assist and though Eisa managed to stop the initial cross, El Arabi was lurking and the ball was inside the goal in a flash.

Duhail were threatening another goal fest and had it not been for Eisa's stunning saves they would have scored three or four in the first half itself. The Al Ain keeper made at least three superb saves in the first half to give them at least a glimmer of hope.

Al Ain started the second half with more attacking intent and made Duhail defence work hard. 

They also managed to breach the defence on a few occasions, but unfortunately for them, Lecomte was in unbeatable form, coming up with terrific saves every time he was called upon.

Ismael made it 3-0 in the 54th minute with a close-range shot prompting Belmadi to withdraw Karim Boudiaf, Almoez Ali and Nam, to keep them as fresh as possible for Saturday's Emir Cup final against Al Rayyan.

Duhail still had plenty in the tank and were awarded a penalty after substitute Bassam Hisham's shot was blocked by  Mohanad Salem Ghazy with his hand.

El Arabi sent Eisa the wrong way from the spot in the 86th minute to score his second of the night.

He could have completed his hattrick when Ismael's cross after a lightning-fast counter-attack found him in front of an open net, but the Moroccan striker sent his shot wide when hitting the target would have been the easier option.

Duhail endured the only disappointment of the game when substitute  Abdullah Al Ahrak fouled Omar Abdulrahman inside the area and the curly-haired playmaker beat Lecomte from the spot in the 94th minute, with the last kick of the game.

Duhail won't be too much worried about it for they know that it is only a minor aberration.

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