Reigning OFC Champions League title holders Hienghéne Sport’s historic Club World Cup campaign is over following a dramatic extra-time defeat to hosts Al Sadd in a nail-biting opener to the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019.
Abdelkarim Hassan’s powerful free-kick in the first extra-time period clinched the victory and Pedro Miguel added an insurance goal in the 114th minute.
Baghdad Bounedjah and Amy Roine struck in either half to keep the match level after 90 minutes.
The debutants from New Caledonia started off in impressive fashion, undaunted by the first steps on the global stage.
Jefferson Dahite hammered into the side netting before Roine’s spectacular overhead attempt illustrated their intent.
However, the predatory finishing of Bounedjah saw him steal in between the Hienghene centre-backs and flick home the first goal of the tournament.
Akram Afif thought he’d made it two, but his tally was ruled out for offside.
The game turned on its head inside a minute of the restart, as Roine muscled his way behind the defence and curled home superbly. It was initially ruled out for a foul, but a VAR review brought about jubilant scenes from the Pacific Islanders.
Al Sadd regained the lead late in the first period of extra time by forcing a mistake from goalkeeper Rocky Nyikeine, who handled a team-mate’s back-pass while under duress. Hassan took full advantage, blasting his free-kick past a wall of defenders from close range.
Pedro Miguel capped off a smooth counter attack six minutes from the final whistle to ensure advancement for his side to set up a meeting with 2019 CONCACAF champions Monterrey from Mecixo in the second round.