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Al Wahda rally to hold Saudi Arabia's Al Ahli; Pakhtakor edge past Shabab Al Ahli in AFC Champions League

Filed on February 10, 2020
Shabab Al Ahli and Pakhtakor players vie for the ball. - AFC

The Saudis travelled to Al Nahyan Stadium knowing they were yet to record a win in their two previous attempts against Al Wahda, having lost once and drawn the other in the 2008 AFC Champions League group stage

Rim Chang-woo's last-minute equaliser helped Al Wahda cancel out Abdulfattah Asiri's opener for Al Ahli Saudi FC as the two sides played out a 1-1 draw in the AFC Champions League Group A match on Monday.

The Saudis travelled to Al Nahyan Stadium knowing they were yet to record a win in their two previous attempts against Al Wahda, having lost once and drawn the other in the 2008 AFC Champions League group stage, AFC website reported.

Al Ahli thought they had opened the scoring within eight minutes after Brazilian left-back Lucas Lima embarked on a marauding run down the flank and crossed low for Mazen Abu Sharah, who took it first time at the near post, but goalkeeper Mohammed Al Shamsi made a quality save to keep it away.

Al Wahda responded four minutes later with Khamis Esmail receiving the ball 35 yards out and unleashing a trademark piledriver that was just tipped over by goalkeeper Yasser Al Mosailem.

The deadlock was finally broken an hour into the tie. Asiri evaded his marker down the right flank and advanced into the box before unleashing a powerful effort from a narrow angle into the roof of the net to put Al Ahli in front.

Skipper Ismail Matar came closest to equalising for the Abu Dhabi side in the 71st minute after controlling Abdullah Al Karbi's cross at the far post and firing low, but Al Mosailem produced a fine reflex save to deny the veteran.

The large crowd at Al Nahyan Stadium were made to wait until the final minute of the 90 to see their side score. Substitute Ismail Omar's cross from the corner was nodded on by Sebastian Tagliabue into the path of Rim and the Korea Republic defender volleyed past Al Mosailem to rescue a point for the hosts.

The result means all four teams in Group A are level with a point each after the end of Matchday One. Al Ahli travel to Kuwait, their adopted home for the Matchday Two clash against Esteghlal, while Al Wahda are away in Erbil where they face Al Shorta next week.

Earlier, in Tashkent, goals from Jaloliddin Masharipov and Dragan Ceran helped Uzbekistan's Pakhtakor get their Group B campaign off to a winning start with a 2-1 home win over UAE's Shabab Al Ahli Dubai in a muddy Pakhtakor Stadium.

The hosts came into their first encounter against Shabab Al Ahli Dubai hoping to extend their six-match unbeaten home run in the competition.

The first goal of the 2020 AFC Champions League group stage was signed by Jaloliddin Masharipov.

The Uzbek international advanced down the middle and spotted goalkeeper Majed Nasser off his line. He instinctively went for the lob and the Shabab Al Ahli skipper was left flatfooted as the ball nestled into the back of the net announcing a Pakhtakor lead after 18 minutes.

Rodolfo Arruabarrena's men looked for an instant response and got it when Conde got his first goal in Shabab Al Ahli colours to bring the visitors level in the 67th minute.

It was veteran defender Youssef Jaber who went for the spectacular, meeting a loose ball inside the box with a bicycle kick. Jaber's effort was parried by Suyunov, but only as far as Conde who tapped in from point-blank range into the back of the net to restore parity.

The Emiratis' joy lasted a mere three minutes before Ceran cut it short. A Dostonbek Khamdamov cross from the right was met first time by the Serbian whose low effort crept past Nasser into the bottom corner in the 70th minute to win the tie for Pakhtakor.

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