Tractorsazi Starts With Loss

Tractorsazi Tabriz team memberTractorsazi Tabriz team member

Mohannad Aseri’s header made the difference as Al Ahli Saudi FC sealed an important 1-0 away win against Iran’s Tractorsazi Tabriz in their AFC Champions League Group A opener on Monday, in Muscat, Oman.

The Saudis suffered an early blow after defender Mohammed Al Fatil was withdrawn seven minutes into the match with an injury to be replaced with Brazilian midfielder Claudemir.

Despite Tractorsazi’s dominance, Al Ahli was the team to break the long-standing deadlock in the 67th minutes as Aseri headed Abdulfattah Asiri’s cross into the bottom-right corner.

The home side thought it had equalized when Sulejman Krpic beat the Saudi goalkeeper but a Mark Miligan goal-line clearance two minutes from time saved the day for Al Ahli.

Al Ahli will face Al Jazira of the UAE in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in the next game, while Tractorsazi will travel to Qatar to face Al Gharafa.

 Clash of Arab Clubs

In the other match of the group, Al Jazira recorded its first AFC Champions League home victory since 2014 with a 3-2 win over Al Gharafa in Group A on Monday in Abu Dhabi, the UAE.

Brazilian striker Romarinho broke free on the wing and attempted to find teammate Ali Mabkhout, but his cross found its way to the back of the net, tricking goalkeeper Qassim Burhan in the tenth minute.

The visitors’ response was instant, as former Persepolis striker Mehdi Taremi of Iran found space inside Al Jazira’s box to control and fire low past Ali Khaseif within a minute of the hosts’ opener.

The Emirati champions restored their lead in the 26th minute after Moroccan playmaker Mbark Boussoufa sent Mabkhout through on goal with a defense-splitting pass. The UAE international applied a calm finish past Burhan for Al Jazira’s second.

The pick of the goals came in the 69th minute when Romarinho nodded for Ahmed Al Hashmi to strike on the half-volley from 40 yards out, to make it 3-1.

Two minutes later, Qatari international Ahmed Alaeldin twisted and turned inside Al Jazira’s box and unleashed a low drive that hit the upright and fell for Wesley Sneijder to tap in Al Gharafa’s second. His goal proved merely a consolation as Al Jazira walked away with the three points.

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