African All Stars

Kenya’s Olunga guides Al Duhail SC past Pakhtakor FC in AFC Champions League

8:38 AM WAT 19/04/2022
Kenya and Harambee Stars striker Michael Olunga of AL Duhail SC.
The 28-year-old Harambee Star scored his second goal of the competition as the Red Knights secured a win to move top of Group D

Kenya international Michael Olunga was on target as Qatari giants Al Duhail SC cruised to a comfortable 3-0 win against Pakhtakor FC in a Group D fixture of the AFC Champions League at King Abdullah Sports City Stadium on Monday night.

It was a closely contested affair in the first few minutes until Bassam Al Rawi put Duhail ahead in the 32nd minute, before the lanky Harambee Stars captain fired home the second in the 45th minute and Almoez Ali sealed the win in the 47th minute.

However, it was the Uzbek outfit who could have taken the lead in the 20th minute when Sardor Rashidov raced forward to meet a cross from Ikromjon Alibaev but he hesitated on the edge of the box before he finally unleashed a feeble shot that hit the woodwork.

Pakhtakor were paid to rue the missed chance as the Red Knights took the lead when the unmarked Al Rawi smashed home a corner by Edmilson Junior past goalkeeper Eldorbek Suyunov.

Oliver Sarkic almost levelled matters for Pakhtakor after he latched onto a through-ball from Azizbek Turgunboev but he shot straight to Salah Zakaria's gloves.

On the stroke of half-time, Olunga doubled Duhail’s lead after a mazy run from the halfway line, fighting a challenge from defender Kamen Hadzhiev, before slicing the ball into the net.

Two minutes after the break it was the turn of captain Almoez, who drilled home the third for Duhail after some good work from Edmilson.

Duhail could have scored the fourth in the 78th minute but a well-curled free-kick from Mohamed Musa whizzed over the bar with keeper Suyunov rooted to the ground.

Olunga has now scored two goals in the competition from three matches, having missed the opener owing to injury. The win was the third for Duhail, who had lost their opening fixture 2-1 against Al-Taawoun on April 7.

Duhail have now won three straight matches – 1-0 against Sepahan, 3-2 against Pakhtakor, and 3-0 against the same side. They are topping the group with nine points from four matches, while Taawoun are second on seven, Sepahan are third on four and Pakhtakor are fourth on three.

Olunga and Duhail will return to action against Taawoun at King Abdullah Sports City Stadium on Friday, the same day Pakhtakor will play against Sepahan.