Al Sadd were made to work hard for their place in the next round of the Club World Cup, following a 3-1 extra-time win over Hienghene Sport. Late goals from defenders Abdulkarim Hassan and Pedro Miguel handed the victory to the Qatari champions, following a leveller from Antoine Roine early in the second half.
It was the side from New Caledonia who came closest to opening the scoring in the early exchanges. Midfielder Jefferson Dahité hit the side netting just nine minutes into the contest, although on a second look the Hienghene number nine looked offside.
Midfielder Antoine Roine, the scorer of the goal that brought Hienghene Sport to the Club World Cup, had a spectacular overhead kick which was gathered by Saad Al Sheeb.
Bagdad Boundjah and Akram Afif linked up to create the Wolves best chance in the contest. A slick pass from the Algerian found Afif who drew a good save from Rocky Nyikeine, Boundjah was inches away from heading the rebound home, but would have been ruled offside. Hassan Al Haydos came on early on as Xavi looked to change up his side early on and it had an immediate impact.
Adulkarim Hassan launched a cross from the left, and Boundjah pounced on a deflection, to volley Al Sadd into the lead with his right foot. After a brief delay from VAR, the goal was given and Sadd could breathe.
Al Sadd could have had a second soon after through a deep cross from Abdulkarim, however, Hassan Al Haydos was unable to get the shot away. For their lack of dominance, Hienghene were causing trouble on the attack, Antoine Roine looked lively and headed well over the bar.
The home side thought they had a second goal five minutes from the break. A long-range Boualem Khoukhi freekick was palmed away by Rocky Nyikeine, into the path of Akram Afif who turned the ball home. Although after a VAR review the goal was chalked off as Bagdad Boundjah blocked the view of the Hienghene keeper.
A huge let-off for the Oceania Champions, as Al Sadd took a slender 1-0 lead into the break.
Hienghene made a dream start to the second half as Antoine Roine found the back of the net for Hienghene seconds after the restart, drilling the ball into the bottom corner. The goal was initially not given for a foul on Boualem Khoukhi in the buildup, after a lengthy deliberation with VAR, the goal was given leading to raucous scenes on the sidelines from the New Caledonian side.
Al Sadd started to push back their opponents. Reigning Asian player of the year Afif drilled a shot wide just before the hour mark, as Xavi’s side ramped up the pressure. Gabi launched a shot from outside the box, only to be denied by the outstretched arm of Rocky Nyikeine who turned the ball onto the post.
VAR deprived Al Sadd for a second time, as Hassan Al Haydos was disallowed for offside, much to the frustration of the Wolves fans. Hienghene had few chances in the second half, although Joseph Athale’s rasping long-range effort did have Saad Al Sheeb scrambling.
Al Sadd pressed further as Akram Afif saw a glancing header cleared off the line by Athale as Sadd looked to find a decisive goal in regulation time. Afif again missed a chance to put the beyond doubt in stoppage time as the Asian player of the year blazed well over the bar with an open goal at his mercy.
It would prove to be the final chance for the Qatari champions, as the game moved into extra-time.
Minutes into extra-time Hienghene handed Al Sadd a golden opportunity to take the lead and the hosts took full advantage a defender passed the ball back to Nyikeine who picked the ball up.
With the free-kick in the penalty box, Abdulkarim stepped up and smashed the ball into the net past a mass of Hienghene players. Al Sadd had their vital lead.
Xavi’s men continued to push for a decisive third, and Athale again was the hero for the New Caledonian side, clearing for a second time to deny substitute Ali Asad. Whilst Bagdad Boundjah smashed a shot against the bar.
Eventually, Pedro Miguel turned home the decisive third goal for the Qatari champions to put the contest out of reach for the side from New Caledonia and book a tie with Monterrey on Saturday evening.