Al-Duhail, a club from Qatar made history by reaching the semi-finals for the first time. After defeating Al-Shabab, a club from Saudi Arabia with a score of 2-1 in the AFC Champions League 2022, Quarter-final West zone at Al-Thumama Stadium.
Al Duhail came within a whisker of opening the scoring in the 11th minute when Edmilson Junior collected a cross-field pass on the left flank and whipped a pinpoint cross for 2021 AFC Champions League top scorer Olunga who met it with his weaker right foot, just missing the target from close range.
The Saudi side responded with a big chance of their own three minutes later when right-back Fawaz Al Soqour delivered an exquisite pass behind the Qatari defence for Carlos Junior who had just the goalkeeper to beat but the Brazilian’s finish was thwarted expertly by Salah Zakaria to keep the scores level.
Korean playmaker Nam Tae-hee tested his compatriot Kim Seung-gyu with a left-footed effort from distance but the Al Shabab goalkeeper got the better of his fellow Ulsan Hyundai youth graduate, making a solid diving save.
Olunga’s second attempt came at the half-hour mark and again it was on his right foot, but this time the Kenyan forward held-off his marker and powered an effort within the frame of the goal, but was once more denied by Kim.
Ten minutes into the second half, Al Shabab suffered a blow as forward Carlos Junior had to be stretched off after landing awkwardly while controlling a cross, being replaced by Saudi international Fahad Al Muwallad.
Al Duhail pushed forward and from a corner-kick 15 minutes from time, Karim Boudiaf directed a header towards goal that was tipped behind by the Korean goalkeeper for a second corner. Edmilson Junior delivered the cross from the opposite side and Olunga’s header this time was too powerful for Kim, nestling into the back of the net to open the Qatari side’s account on the night.
Having conceded just one goal all tournament hitherto, Al Shabab found themselves on the receiving end again seven minutes later. Qatari international Ismaeel Mohammed made an instant impact having come off the bench, taking advantage of a Moteb Al Harbi error to advance down the right and square for Olunga who doubled his tally to put the game beyond doubt.
Al Shabab still had some fight in them and managed to pull one back as defender Saeed Al Rubaei moved into the opposition box, meeting a cross from the right with aplomb to make it 2-1 three minutes into added time.
Despite everyone including goalkeeper Kim going up, Al Duhail held tight and kept their composure to get the victory that sends them through into Sunday’s West finale with a place against Urawa up for grabs.
Al Duhail are now within one match of meeting Urawa Red Diamonds of Japan, who sealed their place in the final from the East zone last August.
Credit Photo : AFC
Source : AFC