African trio in Asian Champions League triumph
Last updated on .From the section Football
Three Africans played a vital role for Qatari team Al Sadd to beat South Korean side Jeonbuk Motors 4-2 after a penalty shoot-out to win the Asian Champions League on Saturday.
Algeria's Nadir Belhadji scored the winning spot-kick after the game had finished 2-2 in regulation time.
Ivorian striker Abdul Kader Keita had scored one and set up the other before it went into the shoot-out.
His Senegalese team-mate Mamadou Niang was also a constant threat in the game.
The Korean team took the lead with just 20 minutes on the clock when Brazilian playmaker Eninho curled home a free-kick from 20 yards for his seventh goal of the tournament.
Just 10 minutes later however, Jeonbuk defender Sim Woo-yeon headed a Kader Keita cross into his own net from close range.
Keita scored what looked to be the decisive goal after 61 minutes.
The Ivory Coast attacker ollected the ball outside the area, skipped past a defender and fired home a fierce low shot.
Jeonbuk, which had won all six games at home in the 2011 tournament, pushed forward with increasing desperation only to be frustrated by the woodwork and goalkeeper Saqr.
With the game into added time, substitute Lee Hyun-sung headed home an Eninho corner at the far post to send the game into extra time in front of a passionate crowd of 42,000.
The hosts continued to create chances but were unable to find the decisive goal as the game drifted towards penalties.
Kim Dong-chan and Lee Hyun-sung saw their kicks well-saved by Saqr and while Lee Jung-soo's miss for Al Sadd gave the home fans hope, it was Al Sadd who took the title.
While Al Sadd won the tournament in its former guise in 1989, it is the first win for a Qatari team since the Champions League started in 2003 and it ends five consecutive triumphs for South Korea and Japan.
The team from Doha collects $1.5 million for winning the tournament and will represent the Asian Football Confederation at the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup in Japan in December.