Jazira hold Esteghlal, in last 16

Al Jazira rallied from a goal down to hold Iran’s Esteghlal to a 1-1 draw in a Group A fixture of the AFC Champions League at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on Wednesday night.

By James Jose

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Published: Fri 20 Apr 2012, 12:25 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 2:03 AM

With the draw, Al Jazira qualified for the round of 16 for the first time and it remains to be seen if they finish as the table toppers or the second-placed team from Group A.

Group leaders Al Jazira moved to 10 points with two games left, while Esteghlal have five points.

Arash Borhani put the Iranian club ahead in the 24th minute but Ricardo Oliveira drew level for Al Jazira in the 63rd minute. Esteghlal had a look in at the goal as early as the second minute of the game but Khosro Heidari’s header from close range was collected by goalkeeper Ali Khaseif. Al Jazira came close to taking the lead in the 21st minute when Salem Masoud darted dowm the right flank and fired in a cross. But it was headed out for a corner by the defence before Bare could get to it.

But it was Esteghlal who took the lead three minutes later after a bit of a confusion in the Al Jazira defence. Esteghlal midfielder Ferydoon Zandi squared it up from the left and Arash Borhani rushed in and fired it home even as the Al Jazira defence and goalkeeper Ali Khaseif stood still.

Al Jazira tried hard to get the equaliser but Ricardo Oliveira was off target on both occasions.

Oliveira darted in from the left in the 37th minute but fired his shot wide of the far post. Then, in the final minute of the first half, Oliveira came up with a solo down the left and shot but his effort just whizzed past the far post.

Al Jazira brought in Saleh Basheer for Abdulla Mousa at the start of the second half. Al Jazira had a chance on the hour mark, but Lucas Neill, who was returning from suspension, saw his left-footer collected by the goalkeeper Mahdi Rahmati. But they didn’t have to wait long for the equaliser and Oliveira drew level for Jazira in the 63rd minute. Matias Delgado, who too was making a comeback after sitting out the UAE Pro-League game against Al Shabab, fired in a inch perfect corner and Oliveira headed it home.

It was the right tonic that Jazira needed as they pressed hard for the lead. Delgado saw his freekick just whizz past the far post in the 68th minute before Subait Khater’s freekick brushed the wall and went wide in the 74th minute.

Al Jazira came close to taking the lead with five minutes left on the clock. Al Jazira went on the counter after an Esteghlal corner and Subait Khater made his way in but chipped his shot over the cross bar.

james@khaleejtimes.com

TEAMS

Al Jazira: Ali Khaseif, Lucas Neill, Juma Abdulla, Bare, Ibrahim Diaky ©, Abdulla Mousa, Matias Delgado, Subait Khater, Khamis Ismail, Salem, Ricardo Oliveira. Substitutes: Abdulsalam Jumaa, Sami Rubaiya, Saleh Basheer, Khalid Sabeel, Khalid Eisa, Ali Ahmed Mabkhout, Sultan Barghash. Coach: Caio Junior.

Esteghlal: Mahdi Rahmati, Khosro Heidari, Soheil Omran Zadeh, Mojtaba Jabari ©, Arash Borhani, Lloyd Tafari Samuel, Anderanik Teymourian, Meisam Hosseini, Ferydoon Zandi, Pejman Montazeri, Ali Hamoudi. Substitutes: Mehdei Amirabadi, Milad Midavoodi, Mohsen Yousefi, Goran Jerkovic, Hadi Zarrinsaed, Javad Shirzadeh, Esmaeil Sharifat. Coach: Parvaiz Mazloum.



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