Doha, April 23: Xavi scored a superb free-kick and set up the winner as Al Sadd overcame Pakhtakor 2-1 in the AFC Champions League to go top of Group D.
With Al Ahli having beaten 2018 runners up Persepolis 2-1 earlier on Monday (April 22), Al Sadd got off the mark nine minutes in when Xavi – who netted a double in a 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture two weeks ago – curled in a sublime set-piece from 20 yards.
Pakhtakor restored parity through Egor Krimets' close-range header, and that looked set to be enough for a point until Baghdad Bounedjah regained possession deep in the visitors' half, exchanged a quick one-two with Xavi and picked out the bottom-right corner in the 87th minute.
In Abu Dhabi, Leonardo scored four as Al Wahda came from two goals down to beat Al Rayyan 4-3 in a thrilling Group B contest.
Sebastian Soria put Al Rayyan ahead inside two minutes, with Gelmin Rivas scoring either side of Leonardo's first goal in a whirlwind start.
But Leonardo pulled another back early in the second half before converting twice more in the space of seven minutes late on to secure a third successive win.
Lokomotiv Tashkent, who had Islom Tukhtakhujaev sent off in the 75th minute, held on to draw 1-1 at home to Al-Ittihad in the other Group B match.