Zobahan Still Hopeful, Traktorsazi Eliminated

Zobahan membersZobahan members

Qatar’s Al Duhail racked up a fifth straight victory in the AFC Champions League after Ismail Mohammad’s late strike gave them a 1-0 win over Zobahan in their Matchday Five clash on Tuesday in Isfahan.

Having already booked a place in the Round of 16, Al Duhail rested the star front duo of Youssef Msakni and Youssef El Arabi for the trip to Isfahan. Despite their absence, Al Duhail managed to win against a Zobahan side that desperately needed a win, the AFC website reported.

Chances were few and far between during the first half with neither side managing to pose any real danger. Things improved after the break, with Zobahan coming close to scoring on multiple occasions.

Zobahan’s Brazilian forward Kiros could have put his team in the lead in the 52nd minute. However, his shot from inside the box was saved by Al Duhail keeper Amine Lecomte.

In the 76th minute, Morteza Tabrizi set up Milad Fakhreddini with a cross, but once again, Lecomte showed fine reflexes to keep the effort out.

Then, out of the blue, Al Duhail finally broke the deadlock in the 84th minute with the first shot on target, when Mohammad tapped into an empty goal following Sultan Al Brake’s precise pass from the left.

Al Duhail sealed top spot in Group A with a perfect record after five games and will now host Al Wahda of the UAE in their final group game.

Zobahan, on the other hand, will look to defeat PFC Lokomotiv of Uzbekistan in Tashkent to secure a place in the knockout stage. Zobahan and Lokomotiv have  six points and are ranked second and third respectively.

 Tractorsazi Sinks

Al Ahli Saudi FC confirmed its place in the knockout stage with a 2-0 victory over Tractorsazi Tabriz on Matchday Five on Tuesday in Al Ain city of the UAE.

The Iranians started the brighter of two sides and had the first chance 11 minutes into the game, when Mohammad Ebrahimi’s volley went wide after a spectacular cross from Mohammad Iranpourian.

Brazilian midifelder Claudemir was stretchered off to be replaced with Waleed Bakhashwain in the 15th minute as the Saudi side struggled, allowing the visitors to threaten again - this time from a free-kick by Ebrahimi to Mohammadreza Mehdizadeh’s whose header went above the bar.

The match sprang to life in the 19th minute when Tractorsazi was awarded a penalty kick after a foul on Amir Motahari by defender Aqeel Balghaith but captain Mehdi Kiani failed to convert as he his shot hit the right post.

In the final minutes of the first half, the host reassembled and began to create dangerous attacks as Taiseer Al Jassam delivered a pass to Mohannad Aseri who fired a shot that went high. Al Jassim broke through the Iranian defense but his attempt sailed wide off the far corner.

After the break, Aseri gave his team the lead through a powerful strike into the right corner of the net in the 49th minute.

Al Ahli cemented the victory with a second goal late on after Moamen Zakaria pounced on a poor defensive clearance to fire home in added time to confirm his side’s qualification to the next round.

The Saudi side joins the UAE’s Al Jazira in qualifying from Group A, while Tractorsazi will finish bottom of the group and is eliminated alongside Al Gharafa of Qatar.


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