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African All Stars

Olunga’s brace powers Al Duhail past Sepahan in AFC Champions League

23:56 GMT+3 26/04/2022
Kenya striker Michael Olunga.
Two goals from the Harambee Star plus an assist helped the Red Knights overpower the Yellow Storm

Michael Olunga was on target twice as Al Duhail decimated Sepahan 5-2 in Tuesday’s AFC Champions League group stage match.

Although the Red Knights have already qualified for the competition’s Round of 16 as Group D winners, Hernan Crespo’s men wrapped up the preliminary round in style with the Kenya international bagging a double while Tunisia’s Ferjani Sassi scored once.

Needing a win to get into the knockout phase, the Iranian Persian Gulf Pro League side travelled to the King Abdullah Sport City Stadium in dire need of a victory.

However, they went a goal down after just ten minutes of action. Tae-Hee Nam got the ball and dashed into the visitors’ penalty area before teeing up Olunga who slotted the ball past goalkeeper Mohammad Rashid Mazaheri.

That lead lasted for just 10 minutes as Sepahan levelled matters as Mohammad Nejadmahdi headed home a well-taken corner kick by Danial Esmaeilifar.

In the goal-laden first half, Olunga restored the hosts’ lead in the 35th minute thanks to a sumptuous assist from Qatari midfielder Assim Madibo.

Four minutes before the half time break, Edmilson Junior made it 3-1 for Duhail by drilling home a ferocious strike outside the penalty area with Ali Afif supplying the last pass.

Even with the scoreline, Crespo’s team continued to dominate in terms of ball possession before getting their fourth goal of the night through Sassi who benefitted from a clever cross from Junior.

Not willing to go down without a fight, Moharram Navidkia’s side got their second goal of the day through Soroush Rafiei. 

The hosts made it five goals with what appears to be the last kick of the game as Olunga set up Junior for his brace.

Alongside the Kenya international, Sassi was in action from start to finish in the seven-goal thriller. 

Buoyed by his inspiring performance, the 28-year-old went on social media to revel in the outcome. 

“#ACL2022 group stage done. Two goals and an assist. Proud of the team effort. Time to recharge,” the former Guizhou Zhicheng and Kashiwa Reysol striker tweeted. 

With this result, seven-time Qatar Stars League champions Al Duhail have now won their last five matches in all competitions.