Al-Sadd drew 2-2 with Al-Nassr of Saudi Arabia in their opening AFC Champions League 2020 Group D clash, which was held at the Faisal bin Fahd Stadium in Riyadh.
Abderrazak Hamdallah opened the scoring for Al-Nassr, only for Baghdad Bounedjah to level the scores with a quick reply. Al-Sadd then took the lead in the second half through Hassan Al-Haydos, before Al-Nassr equalised through Abdulrahman Al-Obaid.
The result earns both teams a point apiece in the group table, which is led by Iranian side Sepahan, after their 4-0 win over Al Ain of the UAE.
The first goal of the match arrived in the seventh minute, as Hamdallah put Al-Nassr ahead at their home ground with a finish towards the far post from close range.
Just two minutes later, Al-Sadd equalised. Hassan Al-Haydos and Pedro combined well in the build-up, before the latter sent in a low cross for Bounedjah to finish past Brad Jones.
Al-Sadd went on to dominate the rest of the first half, but they were unable to get a second goal. Akram Afif was put through on goal on two occasions, but both opportunities went to waste.
First, Gabi sent him racing on goal with a good through ball in the 33rd minute, but Afif’s attempted pass to Bounedjah went out of play. In the 40th minute, Afif once again had a clear opportunity, going one-on-one with the keeper, only to see his attempted lob parried away for a corner.
The teams went into halftime with a 1-1 deadlock, and Al-Sadd began with renewed vigour in the second half as they looked to go in front. Three minutes in, the Wolves managed to do just that, as Al-Haydos controlled Pedro’s pass before getting past a defender and finishing coolly past the keeper.
Al-Sadd’s lead only lasted for five minutes, with Al-Nassr levelling the scoreline through Abdulrahman Al-Obaid, whose powerful first-time shot from outside the box went flying into the top left corner.
Both sides looked for the winning goal thereafter, but it would not arrive, despite their best efforts.
Al-Sadd head coach Xavi Hernandez sent on Hashim Ali and Hamed Ismail, in place of Nam Tae-hee and Yasir Abubakar in the final 15 minutes, looking to freshen things up but the match would go on to end in a 2-2 stalemate.
Al-Sadd x Al-Nassr (AFC Champions League 2020 Group D – Matchday One)
Faisal bin Fahd Stadium, Riyadh
Al-Sadd: Saad Al-Dosari, Yasir Abubakar (Hamed Ismail), Tarek Salman, Khoukhi Boualem, Pedro, Jung Woo-young, Gabi, Nam Tae-hee (Hashim Ali), Hassan Al-Haydos, Baghdad Bounedjah, Akram Afif
Al-Nassr: Brad Jones, Sultan Al-Ghannam, Abdulelah Alamri, Yahya Alshehri (Khalid Al-Ghannam), Abderrazak Hamdallah, Giuliano, Nordin Amrabat, Abdulrahman Al-Obaid, Mukhtar Ali, Naif Almas, Abdulrahman Al-Dossari
7′ Abderrazak Hamdallah
9′ Baghdad Bounedjah
48′ Hassan Al-Haydos
53′ Abdulrahman Al-Obaid
41′ Akram Afif
65′ Yasser Abubakar
69′ Mukhtar Ali
Main referee: Christopher James
Assistant referee: Ashley Beecham
Assistant referee: Anton Shchetinin
Fourth official: Shaun Evans