Al Sadd were held to a draw despite two goals from Xavi, while holders Kashima Antlers won a thriller in the AFC Champions League.
Graziano Pelle struck twice to claim a 2-2 draw for Shandong Luneng at home to AFC Champions League holders Kashima Antlers on Tuesday.
Deagu and Guangzhou Evergrande got their Group F campaigns off to fine starts with wins over Melbourne Victory and Sanfrecce respectively.
Copa Libertadores winners River Plate capped a wonderful 2018 by hammering Kashima Antlers to claim third place in the Club World Cup.
Real Madrid will face Kashima Antlers in the FIFA Club World Cup semi-finals after the AFC Champions League winners beat Guadalajara.
A 0-0 draw was enough to take Kashima Antlers to AFC Champions League glory as Persepolis failed to break down the dogged visitors.
Leo Silva and Serginho goals gave Kashima Antlers a crucial 2-0 lead on aggregate in the first leg of the AFC Champions League final.
Kashima Antlers came from behind to draw 3-3 with Suwon Bluewings and clinch a 6-5 aggregate victory in the AFC Champions League semi-final.
Kashima Antlers came from 2-0 down to secure a 3-2 victory over Suwon Bluewings and seize the advantage in the AFC Champions League semis.
Tianjin Quanjian were no match for Kashima Antlers, whose 3-0 win sealed a 5-0 aggregate victory and an AFC Champions League last-four spot.