ACL Matchday Two: Iran’s Esteghlal Held by Al Ain of UAE

ACL Matchday Two: Iran’s Esteghlal Held by Al Ain of UAE

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – UAE’s Al Ain fought back to earn a late 1-1 draw against Iran’s Esteghlal at Azadi Stadium on Matchday Two of the 2019 AFC Champions League Group C on Tuesday.

The two teams went into the dressing rooms level.

Al Ain started the second half on the front foot, and the woodwork played its part in keeping the game goalless.

Just two minutes after the restart, Mohammed Khalfan exchanged a one-two with Amer Abdulrahman from the corner and the former advanced deep into the penalty box before hitting the crossbar with a left-footed effort.

Farshid Esmaeili showed what he is capable of, going on a slaloming run from the right to skip past three defenders and try to finish from a narrow angle, but Khaled Eisa made an athletic save at the near post to tip it behind for the corner.

The 53rd minute set-piece would finally break the deadlock. Patosi’s out-swinging cross was nodded home by Bagheri to the joy of the home fans as Esteghlal took the lead.

The host controlled the rhythm of play for the bulk of the second half and could have added a second goal in the 76th minute.

Al Ain piled the pressure in the final 10 minutes in pursuit of the equalizer which it got in the 87th minute through Tsukasa Shiotani.

Yaslam’s cross from a free-kick was not dealt with properly by the Iranian defense and Shiotani pounced on the loose ball to fire home with his left foot from inside the box.

Both teams head to Doha for Matchday Three. Esteghlal will face Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal on April 8, while Al Ain play Al Duhail on the same day.

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