Comeback earns Al Qadsia final place
A stunning 4-1 victory saw Al Qadsia fight back from a two-goal first-leg deficit against Al Riffa to reach the final of the AFC Cup.
Al Qadsia took the lead in the semi-final second leg with just four minutes gone at Mohammed Al Hamad Stadium when Bader Al Motwaa played a corner short to Abdulaziz Al Meshan and he lashed the ball home from inside the box.
Talal Al Amer's pinpoint pass sent Hamad Al Enezi clear and he slipped a neat finish between goalkeeper Mahmood Mansoor's legs to make it 2-0 after 58 minutes and square the tie.
Al Motwaa scored the third ten minutes from the end when he sprang the offside trap and, even though Mansoor managed to block his shot, the striker was able to hurdle the goalkeeper and knock the ball into the empty net.
And substitute Omar Bu-Hamad's fourth goal in stoppage time, converting a rebound after Al Motwaa's penalty was saved, proved vital when Hamad Rakea then lashed home from inside the six-yard box to make the aggregate score 4-3 and give Al Riffa a late glimmer of hope.
"The first goal that we scored made it easy for us in the game. I was expecting Al Riffa to gain a lot more confidence as the game went on and this was going to make it hard for our players," said Al Qadsia coach Mohammed Ibrahim.
"However, I asked the players to play an attacking formation as I expected Al Riffa to use more defensive tactics. We had a lot of chances to score and we were the better side in the game. We controlled the midfield, the players were determined and we managed to win the game and qualify."
They will face Al Ittihad as Mohamad Al Hasan's brace helped the Syrians beat Muang Thong United 2-1 on aggregate at Aleppo International Stadium. Al Nassan broke the deadlock with an opportunist finish after 27 minutes and then sent the hosts through with a second four minutes before the interval.
"Tonight we played a great game and we showed our real performance as our team deserved to win and qualify for the final," said assistant coach Racolta Alexandru. "We were the better side tonight whether tactically or on the skills level and we controlled proceedings even after having taken a 2-0 lead."