Qatar Football AssociationNews
17.03.2016 3:39 in :

DOHA: A goal from Sardor Rashidov three minutes from time ensured El Jaish opened up a six-point gap at the top of Group D in the 2016 AFC Champions League as Sabri Lamouchi’s side picked up a 1-0 win over Uzbekistan’s Nasaf on Wednesday.

The result moves the Qatar Stars League side on to nine points from their first three games, six more than Nasaf, Al Ahli from Saudi Arabia and Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates as the group stage of the 2016 continental championship reached the halfway point.

Uzbekistan international striker Rashidov scored against his compatriots in the 87th minute as El Jaish finally claimed all three points at the end of a game in which they had the best of the limited goal scoring opportunities.

“This is the third victory for us in the group and it will give us a big push to continue with the same momentum,” said Lamouchi. “We were determined to get a victory tonight and despite the fact that the goal was late, the most important thing is the three points.

“Winning the first three matches is the perfect start we could have. Despite playing against a strong team, we still gave a strong performance and continued our pressure until we scored late in the match.”

Nasaf, who claimed up their first points of the campaign on Matchday Two with a 2-1 win on home soil against Al Ahli, dominated possession throughout the game, but it was the Qataris who always looked the more likely to score.

Brazilian forward Romarinho forced the visitors’ defence onto the back foot early in the game, only to hit a weak shot from the edge of the area that caused Eldorbek Suyunov few problems in the Nasaf goal.

Soon after Romarinho’s strike partner Abderrazzaq Hamedallah saw his attempt blocked at close range by the goalkeeper as El Jaish pushed for the early advantage.

The Qataris, though, could find no way through and Nasaf steadily pulled themselves into the game with Bakhrom Abdurakhimov running at the El Jaish defence before squeezing the trigger on a shot that flew across the face of goal.

Goal scoring opportunities were at a premium in a rain-affected game and Lucas Mendes should have done better with his header from Romarinho’s 60th minute corner, but the defender’s downward attempt was easily collected by Suyunov as it bounced back up off the sodden turf.

Rashidov’s deflected attempt from long range was picked up by Suyunov eight minutes from time as El Jaish grew increasingly desperate and, just as it looked as if Nasaf would collect a point, the Uzbek forward capitalised on a mistake in the visitors’ defence to bear down on goal before firing his left foot shot across Suyunov and into the far corner.

“We performed well and shared possession with our opponents but they managed to get the three points in the last minutes,” said Nasaf coach Ruzikul Berdiev. “We lost tonight because of the pressure from El Jaish and our lack of concentration.

“We should have dealt with the match with a better approach but we still have hope and we will continue fighting until the end. The next match is very important and we must win in order to maintain our chances.”