Newly-crowned QNB Stars League champions Al Duhail completed the 2018 AFC Champions League group stage with a 100 per cent record, after Abdelrahman Fahmi’s goal gave them a 1-0 win over Al Wahda of the UAE on Tuesday.
Al Duhail’s Algerian coach Djamel Belmadi handed starts to a number of youngsters and one of them almost repaid his trust in the 21st minute. Abdullah Al Ahrak had a free header following Mourad Naji’s cross, but it was saved by Al Wahda keeper Mohamed Al Shamsi.
The reply from the visitors came through star man Balazs Dzsudzsak, who produced two brilliant attempts in the space of one minute. First, the Hungarian sent a scorching effort at goal from 30 yards out and then he tried to curl one in directly from a corner. However, Amine Lecomte was alert on both occasions to keep the ball out.
The hosts were handed an advantage in the 39th when Al Wahda defender Salem Sultan was sent off after pulling down Youssef El Arabi who was through on goal.
Al Duhail took advantage of their numerical superiority and opened the scoring just two minutes into the second half, as young winger Fahmi netted with aplomb following a fine give-and-go with El Arabi.
The match saw little action at either half thereafter, and only came alive in the 84th when Al Duhail were also reduced to 10 men after Lucas Mendes was shown his marching orders.
Al Duhail held on to clinch their sixth straight victory and become just the fourth side in history to win all their group games in the AFC Champions League.
The Red Knights will play Group D runners-up Al Ain in the Round of 16.