It was heartbreak at the end for Iran side Foolad, who looked to have sealed a famous win against the Qatar champions.
Al Sadd started strongly by pressing Foolad into their own half, but the Iranian side were able to hold their ground as they eventually pushed the Qataris back, setting the stage for an exciting tie.
The Qatar Stars League champions made multiple inroads into the final third with Rodrigo Tabata testing Foolad goalkeeper Mohsen Foroozan with a long range strike in the 20th minute.
Foolad did have their moments but Brazilian striker Chimba, who scored twice against Al Ain in the playoff, was unable to have an early influence on the proceedings.
Foolad came closest in the 38th minute when Zobeir Niknafs let loose a strike from outside the box but Al Sadd custodian Meshaal Barsham tipped the ball over the bar.
The deadlock continued well into the second half but with a noticeable change in Foolad’s approach, who were now on the front foot.
Their aggression paid off in the 61st minute as Mehran Derakshan delivered a curling cross into the box which Boualem Khoukhi cleared but a prowling Chimba rose high to head home to hand Foolad the lead.
Al Sadd immediately shifted gears and came close 10 minutes later when a string of passes led to substitute Ali Asad on goal but the midfielder was caught offside.
Foolad were reminded not to underestimate Al Sadd’s ability to make a comeback with Khoukhi testing goalkeeper Foroozan with his free-kick in the 81st minute, but he would not miss seven minutes later when he found the back of the net with his strike from inside the box, with Baghdad Bounedjah picking up the assist.
Al Sadd will take on hosts Al Nassr next on Saturday, while Foolad will face Al Wehdat.
Al Rayyan played out a goalless draw with India’s FC Goa as they kicked off their AFC Champions League campaign in a Group E tie at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium yesterday.
The draw means both the teams are third in the group, two points behind Iran’s Persepolis, who defeated Al Wahda of UAE 1-0 in their match earlier yesterday.
Al Rayyan started brightly and had their first look at goal on six minutes with captain Yacine Brahimi pulling his effort wide from outside the area.
Two minutes later, FC Goa goalkeeper Dheraj Singh came off his line to block Naif al-Hadhrami’s close-range effort with the latter then feeding Yohan Boli, who made a run inside the box before firing wide.
Al Rayyan dominated proceedings with Boli in the thick of action once again just after the half-hour mark but his effort from outside the area left much to be desired.
FC Goa finally got their shooting boots on five minutes before the interval when Alexander Romario’s attempt from distance was parried away by Al Rayyan custodian Fahad Younis for a corner.
The hosts then had to endure some tense moments in the closing stages of the half when Dheraj Singh was called into action once again to save Hadhrami’s angled long-range effort before Abdelaziz Hatim’s drive from distance sailed over the crossbar.
Al Rayyan next face last year’s AFC Champions League runners-up Persepolis, while next on the cards for FC Goa is another stern test against Henk Ten Cate’s Al Wahda on Saturday.