Football: Giuliano fires Al Nassr into AFC Champions League quarter-finals

green and white leafed plantsDOHA: Brazilian Giuliano struck twice as Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr booked their spot in the quarter-finals of the AFC Champions League on Monday (Aug 12) with a 3-2 win over the UAE’s Al Wahda that saw them through 4-3 on aggregate.

A thrilling clash was on the cards in the second leg of their last-16 encounter following their 1-1 draw last week and sure enough that turned out to be the case as Al Nassr bounced back from a goal down to prevail at the Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

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Al Nassr extended their unbeaten run to six games with Monday’s victory and will take on either Al Sadd or Al Duhail of Qatar in the quarter-finals, while defeat for Al Wahda means they have failed to win a single match in the knockout phase since reaching the semi-finals of the tournament in 2007.

The hosts enjoyed the upper hand during the first half hour and the pressure paid off for them in the 27th minute when Al Nassr captain Omar al-Hawasawi’s attempted clearance sent the ball to Leonardo, who produced an accurate pass for Mohamed al-Menhali.

The defender wasted no time in half-volleying the ball into the net to give the hosts the lead and a 2-1 advantage on aggregate.

Al Nassr however were not disheartened and regrouped to find the equaliser four minutes before the break, with Moroccan Abderrazak Hamdallah heading home Fahad bin Jumayah’s cross from the right flank.



With parity restored, Al Nassr were invigorated and struck again in first half stoppage time, with Hamdallah this time providing the assist.

The 28-year-old deftly flicked on a pass from Abdullah al-Khaibari from the edge of the box and Giuliano slotted past Mohamed al-Shamsi for his fourth goal of the tournament this year.

Giuliano then added to the away side’s lead, scoring off the rebound after goalkeeper al-Shamshi had parried Hamad al-Mansoor’s shot in the 62nd minute.

Trailing 4-2 on aggregate, Al Wahda needed to score three times to go through, and although Argentine Sebastian Tagliabue pulled one back in the 79th minute, Al Nassr hung on to make the last eight.

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