Qatari Club Al Sadd Takes Home Its First AFC Champions League Trophy
Jeonju: Nadir Belhadj converted the winning penalty as Al Sadd lifted the 2011 AFC Champions League trophy following a dramatic final against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium, on Saturday, 05 November 2011.
After the game had finished locked at 2-2, Belhadj held his nerve in front of the 41,805 spectators – a club record – to drive home the crucial spot kick in the shootout as Al Sadd became the first Qatari Club to win the AFC Champions League and book their place at the FIFA Club World Championship.
The most sought after match of Asian Club Football was preceded by the presentation on the pitch of the QNet-ACL Goal of the Month #5 (September) trophy and prize, a stunning Bernhard H. Mayer® Belleza Magnum Watch, to its scorer. Striker Lee Dong-Gook from Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors was indeed handed over his due by QNet Sponsorship Marketing Manager Christophe Altaie in front of the media and cheering fans.
Jeonbuk had taken the lead 17 minutes into the game when Eninho curled home a fine free-kick but Abdulkader Keita’s cross was headed into his own net by Sim Woo-Yeon 12 minutes later.
The Al Sadd striker’s clinical finish in the 69th minute, then put the visitors in the lead. Jeonbuk twice hit the woodwork before spectacularly equalising in stoppage time thanks to substitute Lee Sung-Hyun’s header.
Jeonbuk again hit the post in extra time and Al Sadd’s Ali Afif was sent off shortly before the final whistle after picking up a second booking as the contest went to penalties.
There, Al Sadd keeper Mohamed Saqr saved attempts from Kim Dong-Chan and Park Won-Jae and although Lee Jang-Soo also missed for Al Sadd, Belhadj eventually proved the hero, sealing the victory of the Qatari side.
AFC Acting President Zhang Jilong congratulated newly crowned Asian club champions:
“The final match of the AFC Champions League completely lived up to expectations. It was a very fast game and the best advertisement possible for Asian football at this level,” said Jilong, who watched the match.
“Congratulations to Al Sadd! Both sides were equally good and as we all know, once a game goes to penalties, anything can happen. In this match, Al Sadd proved to be superior in penalties.”