“I think it’s an advertisement for football in the UAE, this game,” said coach Henk ten Cate. “I first want to congratulate my players – they did an amazing job.
“They beat a really good team and achieved something special, I think. The players are very happy in the dressing room; they put lemonade and water on my head.”
Opposite number Jesualdo Ferreira was magnanimous in defeat, yet believed the better team had been dumped out.
He said: “I think we deserved to win this game. I think my players deserved to win this game and go to the Champions League – but congratulations for our opponent.
“They [Jazira] made it work. They pressed in the second half and scored in the last minute of the first half.
“That was important psychologically.”
The players were granted a ticker-tape reception for this pivotal encounter. The heart-stopping action to come certainly justified the entrance, although uncertainty inflicted both from the start.
For the hosts, relegation from the Arabian Gulf League remains a distant worry as coach Henk ten Cate attempts to fix the damage caused by the wretched decision to re-employ Abel Braga.
Al Sadd are traditional heavyweights, yet despite the summer acquisition of iconic midfielder Xavi they are an unassailable 19 points behind runaway Qatar Stars League leaders Al Rayyan in fourth.
Unsurprisingly, an error was to blame for the opener. Jazira right-back Khalid Sabeal – soon hooked by his furious boss – was careless in the extreme when he passed backwards from the halfway line straight to the grateful Senhadji, who slotted underneath advancing UAE No.1 Khaseif with aplomb.
At this stage, Xavi’s calm and the able assistance of Algeria utility man Nabil Belhadj threatened to take the game away.
But Al Zaeem reciprocated the gift just before the interval to allow Jazira back into the decider. A short corner from Brazil playmaker Thiago Neves picked out giant target man Kenwyne Jones, whose glancing header was unfathomably allowed to creep in by leaden-footed goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb.
The momentum was now with the UAE outfit. Neves shot tamely at Al Sheeb when played in from a counter-attack, before Makbhout put them ahead in style.
The UAE forward took his time standing over a free-kick on the edge of the penalty box, justifying the delay with a delicate effort which floated into the top corner to spark jubilation on the sidelines.
Jesualdo Ferreira’s visitors were reeling, a repeat of the epic penalty win against Al Wahda during their trip to Abu Dhabi at the same stage last year a distant possibility.
But Jazira’s penchant for self-implosion was to re-appear.
Sanhaji smashed into the roof of the goal to level on 88 minutes after centre-back Abdullah Mousa was caught under a high ball, elimination then seemingly inevitable once replacement right-back Sultan Al Suwaidi hacked down superstar substitute Ibrahim in added time just outside the box only for referee Ravshan Irmatov to incorrectly award a penalty.
The Qatar playmaker – afflicted by niggling injury this term – saw off Wahda but his weak effort down the middle was palmed away by the grateful Khaseif.
Extra-time flashed by in a blur of poor pot shots, UAE centre-back Fares Juma then heading agonisingly over at the death to ensure a penalty shootout.
It then all came down to Senhaji after key prior misses from Xavi and Neves, with the 21-year-old hitting the crossbar to spark an explosion of joy from Jazira.