Jeddah: Omar Al Somah struck twice to give Saudi Arabia's Al Ahli a fine 2-0 opening day win over Qatar's Al Sadd in their 2019 AFC Champions League Group D fixture on Tuesday. Al Sadd had knocked out Al Ahli in the Round of 16 during last year's edition, but Syrian striker Al Somah had missed both legs of that tie. This time around, he made his presence felt with a convincing show up front. It was Al Sadd who started off as the brighter side, with Jung Woo-young coming close to scoring in the ninth minute but his powerful free-kick could only scrape the side netting.
Akram Afif then somehow skied the ball over the bar from just around the six-yard box a few minutes later.
Al Ahli punished the visitors midway through the first half when Baghdad Bounedjah was adjudged to have brought down Al Somah in the box. The crowd favourite sent Al Sadd custodian Saad Al Sheeb the wrong way to give Al Ahli the lead.
Al Sadd looked to push forward in search of an equaliser in the second half but they found the going tough, with Al Ahli head coach Jorge Fossati ensuring a robust defensive display against his former side.
In the 69th minute, Abdelkarim Hassan's strike was parried away by Mohammed Al Owais for a corner in what was the first real chance of the second half.
Six minutes later, Al Sadd's hopes of overturning the result were dealt a heavy blow when Al Somah doubled Al Ahli's lead. The in-form striker netted with a thumping header off a Salman Muwashar corner to get his second of the night.
Al Ahli will now be high on confidence when they travel to Uzbekistan on Matchday Two to play Pakhtakor while 2011 champions Al Sadd host Persepolis with an eye on making amends.