Tehran: Al Sadd drew 2-2 with Iranian champions Foolad Khouzestan to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Asian Football ConfederationChampions League (ACL) here yesterday.
Al Sadd football, winners in the 2011 season team can now dream of replicating their historic 2011 triumph. Three years back, Al Sadd became the first Qatari club to win the continental title having begun in the play-offs before edging out former champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors of Korea Republic in the final.
Al Sadd is the only Qatari club remaining in the ACL competition this season after the exit of Lekhwiya, Al Rayyan and Al Jaish.
Meanwhile, Australia’s Western Sydney Wanderers scored two second-half goals to overhaul J-League champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima and reach the quarter-finals of the AFC Champions League yesterday.
The Wanderers, trailing 1-3 from the first leg in Japan, levelled the tie with goals from Shannon Cole and Brendon Santalab and go through to the last eight of the Asian showpiece thanks to their away goal. Wanderers are the third Australian team to reach the ACL quarter-finals after Adelaide United in 2008 and 2012.
The match turned when Cole lashed home a volley in the 55th minute after a cut-back from Japanese star Shinji Ono.
Sanfrecce’s defence played deeper in the second half and Wanderers mounted wave after wave of attacks in search of the clinching goal.
It came with five minutes remaining in normal time when Santalab blasted home after more deft lead-up work from Ono.
Wanderers saw out the five minutes of stoppage time to preserve their advantage and go into the draw for the two-leg quarter-finals in August.
The victory was a fitting farewell for Ono and Dutch midfielder Youssouf Hersi.
Ono is returning to Japan to join Consadole Sapporo, while Hersi is leaving Wanderers to join A-League rivals Perth Glory next season. “It’s been a great year and I’m really pleased for the players,” said Wanderers coach Tony Popovic, who played five seasons as a defender for Sanfrecce.