Al Jazira end campaign with thrilling victory

ABU DHABI — Al Jazira got the curtains down on their AFC Champions League campaign with their first victory at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on Wednesday night.

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Published: Fri 30 Apr 2010, 11:57 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 3:54 AM

Jazira, who had lost four and drawn one of their five games so far, recorded their first win defeating Iran’s Esteghlal 2-1 in the Group A fixture. In the process, they denied Esteghlal’s hopes of topping the group. Esteghlal’s loss coupled with Qatari champions Al Gharafa’s solitary goal win over Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli left them second in the Group behind Al Gharafa.

Al Gharafa set up a home game against Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor on May 11, while Esteghlal will play away in Riyadh against Saudi Arabia’s Al Shabab. Esteghlal captain Farhad Majidi put his side ahead in the 38th minute, but Jazira’s stand-in captain Saleh Basheer levelled it in the 51st minute and Tariq Ahmed sealed the win two minutes later. It was pretty even in the first half with both teams coming up with a couple of chances. Jazira’s Brazilian forward Rafael Sobis had a go in the fourth minute but his shot from the right was blocked by Esteghlal goalkeeper Khosro Heydari and the defence cleared the loose ball.

Four minutes later, Esteghlal almost went ahead but Fabio Januario’s swerving pile driver just whizzed past the post. But they were not to be denied second time around as their captain Farhad Majidi put them ahead in the 38th minute. Hossein Kazemi made a move inside the box but couldn’t get a clear look at goal as he was well covered by the Jazira defence. Kazemi sent a neat backpass and Majidi made no mistake.

It seemed the same old story for Al Jazira but they piled on the pressure after the break and almost got the equaliser in the 47th minute but Sobis’ left-footer went wide. But it didn’t take long for them to get the equaliser as four minutes later, Saleh Basheer, who took over the captain’s arm band from Ibrahim Diaky for this game, scored. Abdullah Qasem’s try was blocked by the goalkeeper Khosro Heydari and Basheer pounced on the rebound to slam it home. The goal seemed to have down pepped them up and they took the lead two minutes after that through Tariq Ahmed. Tariq Ahmed fired in a crisp pile driver and the diving goalkeeper Khosro Heydari had no chance.

Jazira could have added another two minutes from time but substitute Ahmed Jumaa’s shot hit the right upright.

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