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Abdelkarim Hassan red card dents Sadd’s chances

Doha, Qatar: Al Sadd promised a lot after a bright start and scored an early goal as well, but a defensive mistake, some poor umpiring, and indiscipline left them all but out of reckoning in the AFC Champions League first leg match against Al Hilal on Tuesday.

Playing their home leg at their own stadium in front of a packed crowd, Sadd took the lead through an own goal from Bafetibi Gomis in the 14th minute.

But Gomis redeemed himself a with a goal at the other end in the 33rd minute before a red card to Sadd's Abdelkarim Hassan for violent conduct turned the game upside down.

Hilal scored again twice in the second half through an own goal from Salim Al Hajri and a left-footed finish from substitute Mohammed Al Shahalhoub leaving Sadd in a precarious position.

It was all so different for Sadd at the start.

Al Hajri, playing in the midfield as coach Xavi Hernandez opted to feature both Jung Woo Young and Boualem Khoukhi in defence, showed he was ready for the challenge just two minutes into the game and released Bounedjah with a superb through ball, which the Algerian striker failed to take advantage of.

Bounedjah, Sadd's talismanic striker, soon displayed his determination and strength to wriggle of off his marker inside the box but his shot was deflected off for a corner which resulted in the opening goal.

The beautifully worked corner saw Al Haydous and Afif combining well before the latter found Nam Tae Hee inside the box.

The South Korean midfielder found an unmarked Al Haydous on the right again and his cross into the six-yard box was so precise that Hilal's Gomis bundled the ball into his own net.

Sadd soon had a chance to increase the lead as a sweeping move through the left started by Afif and continued by Bounedjah had Hilal defence in all sort of trouble but Al Haydous was left with an acute angle to work with.

Sadd were calling the shots but they needed to exploit them for Hilal boast a number of skilful players such as Gomis, Carrillo and Sebastian Giovinco who are capable of changing the game in no time.

And that's what happened after the half-hour mark.

Hilal were knocking on the doors and after a couple of missed chances, they drew level in the 33rd through Gomis.

A mistake from Tarek Salman, who opted to hit a crossfield pass deep in his own half, gave Hilal the possession in a dangerous area and Gomis had plenty of time to control Giovinco's cross inside the box and pick his spot from close range.

Two minutes later the game turned on its head thanks to utter thoughtlessness from Abdelkarim Hassan and some poor refereeing from Ahmed Abubakar of Oman.

Abdelkarim appeared to have won the ball fair and square from Mohammed Al Burayk but Abubakar blew his whistle and even as the Sadd players were protesting the decision, he showed a yellow card to the Sadd leftback.

This further infuriated the players who surrounded Abubakar, with Hassan also reacting angrily, and in the mele, the referee went to his pocket to show a straight red.

Sadd tried to regain both their composure and the lead as Afif hit the bar with a measured lob after a beautiful move, but playing a man down against tough opponents like Hilal was always going to be too much to ask for.

Sadd soon found that as a corner from Giovinco dropped inside their six-yard box and Al Hadi Al Bulayhi nodded it home with his chest at the fat post.

After starting spectacularly, Sadd were a goal and a man down at the half time and fighting to stay in the tie.

Their fortunes turned from bad to worse as Hilal increased the lead in the 61st minute after Al Hajri, deputising in place of Abdelkarim, put Yassir Al Shahrani's dangerous cross into his own net in an effort to stop Gomis, who was lurking behind.

The damage was complete as substitute Mohammed Al Shahalhoub found the bottom corner with a left-footed shot in the 67th minute.

THough Sadd tried to make a match out of it, Hilal defence stood firm while Al Muaiouf came up with some fine saves to deny Afif and Nam.


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