Al Sadd first Qatari football club to win Asian Champions League title
Goalkeeper Mohamed Saqr saves two penalties in shootout win in final
Saturday's clash with Jeonbuk in South Korea ended 2-2 after extra-time
Home team's striker Lee Dong-gook is named the competition's top player
Goalkeeper Mohamed Saqr was the hero as Al Sadd became the first Qatari football club to win the Asian Champions League title on Saturday.
The 30-year-old saved two penalties as his side beat South Korea’s Jeonbuk 5-4 in the deciding shootout after the final ended 2-2 following extra-time at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium.
Coach Jorge Fossati was delighted with his player after Al Sadd booked a place at the FIFA World Club Cup in December.
“When I returned to the club, many people told me that Mohamed Saqr cannot play anymore. They say he is too old,” the Uruguayan told the Asian Football Confederation website.
“He played fantastic today but believe me, it was not the only game that he was fantastic in this competition. Today he had a big game: the Jeonbuk players did not miss the penalties, he saved them.
“In the game he also made two or three very important saves, the one at the end was extraordinary, and he showed everybody that he can play and he can continue to play.”
Fossati returned to Al Sadd this year after being sacked by Saudi club Al-Shahab in December, having last worked in Qatar as national coach in 2008.
“I could not imagine that it would go to penalties. I really was very worried especially when it went to extra-time because our physical condition to play this game was not the same as normal. When you fly 10 hours two days ago, you need to adapt to the different time zone,” the 58-year-old said.
With home advantage, Jeonbuk had been seeking to add to the club’s 2006 title in front of a record 41,000 fans.
Brazilian midfielder Eninho ensured the perfect start when he curled in a free-kick after only 17 minutes, but Sim Woo-yeon headed a cross by Abdulkader Keita into his own net just before the half hour.
The Ivory Coast striker put Al Sadd ahead in the 69th minute, but the hosts equalized when substitute Lee Sung-hyun headed home in stoppage time.
Jeonbuk hit the woodwork for the third time in the match during the extra period, but Al Sadd held on before Ali Afif was sent off for a second yellow card right at the end.
Saqr saved penalties from Kim Dong-chan and Park Won-jae, while Al Sadd’s South Korea international defender Lee Jung-Soo hit the crossbar before Algeria’s Nadir Belhadj netted the decisive spot-kick.
Jeonbuk striker Lee Dong-gook was named the competition’s top player after finishing as overall leading scorer, with nine of his team’s 33 goals.
“I am particularly disappointed that I became injured at a crucial time and I am very sorry to all the home fans that I could not show my full potential in this game tonight,” said the 32-year-old, who started the final on the bench after picking up a knock in the first leg of the semi against Saudi side Al Ittihad.
“I feel very responsible for not being able to play to my full potential today and I want to apologize to our fans. We played to win of course but it did not happen, so I am very sad.”