Young striker Almoez Ali netted the all-important goal as Qatar’s Al Duhail defeated Iran’s Persepolis 1-0 in the first leg of their AFC Champions League quarterfinal at the Khalifa International Stadium on Tuesday.
QNB Stars League defending champions Al Duhail thus matched Ulsan Hyundai’s record of nine consecutive wins in the AFC Champions League. They are still the only side in this year’s premier continental competition with a 100 per cent record.
Al Duhail nearly seized the initiative early in the match, but Moroccan striker Yousef El Arabi narrowly failed to connect a Nam Tae-Hee header across the goalmouth as early as the fourth minute.
The Red Knights took the lead in the 15th minute when an unmarked Ali headed home a cross from new recruit Edmilson for his second goal of the tournament.
Persepolis then came close to equalising in the 23rd minute, but Omid Alishah’s effort flew just wide of Amine Lecomte’s goal.
Both teams failed to muster further clear-cut chances until half-time and a similar theme also ensued as the second half started.
While Persepolis came out with renewed vigour, they could not pose a serious threat except for Mohammad Ansari’s strike that sailed over the crossbar following a quick free-kick.
In the 77th minute, Al Duhail defender Lucas Mendes tested Alireza Beiranvand’s reflexes with a scorching free-kick, which the latter tipped over the bar for a corner.
Al Duhail take a single-goal advantage to Tehran for the second leg on 17th September.
Al Duhail, coached by Tunisian Nabil Maaloul, had won all six matches in Group B, that also included the UAE’s Al Wahda, Iran’s Zob Ahan and Uzbekistan’s Lokomotiv. They went on to beat the UAE’s Al Ain 8-3 on aggregate in the Round of 16.