Persepolis Eliminates Al Wasl

Winning the next match against Nasaf in Uzbekistan could almost assure Persepolis of advancing to the Round of 16
Kamal Kamyabinia (No. 11) scored the Reds’ only goal against Al Wasl on Tuesday.
Kamal Kamyabinia (No. 11) scored the Reds’ only goal against Al Wasl on Tuesday.

Persepolis earned an important 1-0 away victory thanks to a goal from Kamal Kamyabinia that officially eliminated Al Wasl of the UAE from the 2018 AFC Champions League and doubled the win over Emiratis on Matchday Four of Group C on Tuesday at Zabeel Stadium in Dubai.

It took five minutes for the hosts to make the first attempt through a shot from Abdalla Al Naqbi that was saved by goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand, AFC reported.

A minute later, Al Wasl threatened again after a cross from Ali Saleh to Captain Fabio de Lima whose strike went above the crossbar.

The visitors had a chance to open the scoring in the 21st minute when Siamak Nemati sent a powerful shot from a free-kick too high after a foul on goalkeeper Yousif Abdulla, who was booked for touching the ball outside the box.

Eight minutes before halftime, Persepolis broke the deadlock when Hossein Mahini delivered a pinpoint cross into the box to Kamyabinia who headed into the near corner.

With the beginning of the second half, the hosts came close to leveling the score but Lima’s header missed the net after a cross from Ronaldo Mendes in the 48th minute.

Mendes thought he scored the equalizer after cutting in from the right flank and firing from a narrow angle but the Brazilian saw his attempt saved by Beiranvand.

A fourth consecutive defeat leaves Al Wasl bottom of Group C with no hope of advancing to the next stage ahead of Matchday Five’s trip to face Al Sadd of Qatar.

Last year’s semifinalist Persepolis is, meanwhile, second in the group with nine points and will travel to Qarshi next to meet Nasaf in Uzbekistan.

 Group C Leader

Qatar’s Al Sadd took a huge step toward the knockout stage after a 4-0 home win over FC Nasaf in their Matchday Four encounter on Tuesday at its home.

The hosts got off to a flying start and took the lead in the third minute, with midfield superstar Xavi diverting in Boualem Khoukhi’s cross to score his first-ever AFC Champions League goal.

Al Sadd doubled its lead in the 16th minute and this time it was a defender who got on the scoresheet. Full-back Abdelkarim Hassan finished off a surging solo run from the halfway line with a fierce strike that left Nasaf keeper Sanjar Kuvvatov with no chance of saving.

Baghdad Bounedjah then gave the Qatari side a comfortable 3-0 cushion at halftime, with the Algerian netting his fifth goal of the tournament with an acrobatic overhead kick in the 43rd minute.

Fellow Algerian Jugurtha Hamroun, who had provided the assist for Bounedjah, got a goal of his own in the 71st minute, smashing in a low shot past Kuuvatov to round off a quick counter-attack.

The big win sends Al Sadd to the top of Group C with nine points from four games and leaves the team needing four points to qualify for the Round of 16.

An Al Sadd win coupled with Nasaf failing to beat Persepolis would see the Qatari and Iranian sides advance with a game to spare.

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