El Jaish and Al Sadd pay the penalty in playoffs
February 07 2017 10:57 PM
TOP LEFT: El Jaish players react after their AFC Champions League playoff loss to Bunyodkor at Doha’s Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium yesterday. TOP RIGHT: Al Sadd players Xavi (centre) and Baghdad Bounedjah (second from left) in action against Esteghlal during their AFC Champions League playoff match at the Azadi stadium in Tehran yesterday. BELOW CENTRE: Bunyodkor players celebrate their win over El Jaish yesterday. PICTURES: Noushad Thekkayil

By Sports Reporter Doha

After goalless stalemates, Qatari clubs lose on penalties to Bunyodkor, Esteghlal

Qatar’s El Jaish and Al Sadd both were knocked out of the AFC Champions League after they lost their respective matches on penalties following goalless stalemates yesterday.
In Doha, Bunyodkor upset the form book yesterday as they bundled 2016 AFC Champions League semi-finalists El Jaish out of the Play-offs 3-1 on penalties to secure a spot in the competition’s Group Stage.
There was little to separate the teams after a goalless 90 minutes, with El Jaish having the majority of chances but both teams managed only two shots on targets each. Extra time proved equally fruitless as penalties beckoned.
Romarinho, Sardar Rashidov and Majdi Siddiq all failed to convert their spot kicks while Bunyodkor netted all of theirs to hand the visitors a place in Group C alongside Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli, Zobahan from the Iran and last year’s beaten finalists Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates.
In Tehran’s Azadi Stadium, former semi-finalists Esteghlal returned to the Group Stage following a three-year hiatus after overcoming Qatar’s Al Sadd 4-3 on penalties.
The two-time Asian Club Championship winners had the better of proceedings against 2011 AFC Champions League winners Al Sadd but neither side was able to break the deadlock in 120 minutes of action.
Omid Ebrahimi missed Esteghlal’s second penalty of the shootout but they flawlessly converted the remaining spot kicks while Ibrahim Majed and Mohamed Kasola failed to hit the target for Al Sadd, allowing substitute Khosro Heidari to slam home the winner and take the Iranians into Group A where they will meet Al Ahli of the United Arab Emirates, Uzbek side Lokomotiv and Saudi Arabia’s Al Taawoun.

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