AFC Champions League: Key wins for Al Duhail, Al Rayyan
DOHA: Qatar’s Al Duhail and Al Rayyan posted key wins in the AFC Champions League matches over the weekend while Al Gharafa and Al Sadd suffered losses in the continent’s biggest club event.
Al Rayyan defeated Tajikistans Istiklol 1-0 in a Group A clash at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh on Saturday. Yohan Boli scored the all-important goal in the 90th minute. Al Rayyan moved on to 10 points in the group while Istiklol are yet to open their account. Al Rayyan had beaten Tajikistans Istiklol 3-2 in their opener, but lost 0-3 to Al Hilal in the second round.
In the third round, Al Rayyan and Sharjah played out a 1-1 draw. However, Al Rayyan defeated Sharjah 3-1 in back-to-back matches, in the fourth round.
Al Rayyan will play in the sixth and final round of group stage against Al Hilal, who qualified for the knockout stage, on Wednesday. The top team from each group will qualify for the Round of 16 along with the three best second-placed teams from the five West Asia groups.
In Saudi city Buraidah, Al Duhail SC came from two goals down to defeat Al Taawoun 4-3 in a thrilling Group D encounter at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium and booked their place in the Round of 16.
Al-Duhail FC also succeeded in qualifying for the playoffs after its exciting 4-3 victory.
Karim Boudiaf (11), Edmilson Junior (58 and 84 from the penalty spot) and Al Moez Ali (88) scored Al Duhail’s goals while Leander Tawamba (21, 36) and Hassan Al Omari (25) scored Al Taawon goals.
The second match in the same group on Friday also saw Iran’s Sepahan beat Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor 2-1 at the same stadium.
Al Duhail maintained its lead in the group standings with 12 points from five matches compared to 7 points for Al Taawun and Sepahan and 3 for Pakhtakor. Al Duhail secured the group lead and qualified for the round of 16.
The sixth and final round of group competitions will be held on Tuesday, where Sepahan will meet Pakhtakor and Al-Taawon against Al-Duhail.
In Dammam, Al Sadd lost 1-3 to Uzbekistan’s Nasaf in the fifth round of Group E at the Prince Mohamed bin Fahd Stadium in Dammam on Saturday.
Substitute Rodrigo Tabata scored Al Sadds goal in stoppage time (90+1). Akmal Mozgovoy (63rd and 77th minutes) and Husain Norchayev (75th minute) scored for Nasaf.
Nasaf moved on to eight points, while Al Sadd remained on four points. Al Sadd had drawn 1-1 with Nasaf in their opener and then lost 1-2 to Al Faisaly in the second round.
The Wolves beat Al Wehdat 5-2 in the third round, but lost 1-3 to the same opponents in the back-to-back match. On the other hand, Nasaf have two victories, as many draws and one defeat against their name.
It was a far better performance by Nasaf than in their opener against Al Sadd, which had ended in a 1-1 draw. Nasaf dominated the game and scored three goals until Al Sadd pulled one back through Tabata in stoppage time.
In the sixth and final round of group stage, Al Sadd will face Al Faisaly on Wednesday.
The top team from each group will qualify for the Round of 16 along with the three best second-placed teams from the five West Asia groups.
In Jeddah, Foolad Khouzestan FC edged past Al Gharafa 1-0 in their AFC Champions League 2022 Group C tie at the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Stadium on Friday.
The Iranian club remained at the top of their group, thanks to an early goal by Brazilian striker Shimba while Al Gharafa were left heartbroken as the defeat left them with no chance of advancing to the next stage.