AFC Champions League Review: Al-Sadd reach last 16 as Al-Hilal crash out
Al Sadd, Persepolis and Esteghal are through to the knockouts of the AFC Champions League, but Al Hilal, last season's finalists, are out.
Al-Sadd booked their place in the Last 16 of the AFC Champions League with a 2-1 win over Al-Wasl on Monday. Baghdad Bounedjah scored twice to secure their spot in the next round with one game to spare in Group C, despite Xavi seeing a goal disallowed.
Persepolis will join Al-Sadd in the first knockout phase after battling to a goalless draw away to Nasaf, and a victory on matchday six would see them top the group. Al-Wasl, meanwhile, will hope to avoid six defeats from as many games when they meet Nasaf in a dead rubber.
Al-Hilal bow out
There was a shock in Group D, though, as last season's runners-up Al-Hilal crashed out of the competition with a defeat to Al-Ain. Mohamed Al-Burayk put the visitors ahead at Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium, but, after Omar Abdulrahman missed a spot-kick, Marcus Berg converted two penalties to send Al-Hilal out at the group stage for the first time since 2006. Iranian side Esteghal sealed their place in the last 16 by beating Qatar's Al-Rayyan 2-0.
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