ACL Group A: Al Ahli Beats Esteghlal of Iran
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A Salman Al Muwashar brace helped Al Ahli Saudi FC earn a 2-1 win over Iran’s Esteghlal FC on Matchday Two of the 2020 AFC Champions League Group A on Monday.
Al Ahli had its first major chance 16 minutes into the game following a quick counter-attack which saw Abdulrahman Ghareeb supply a fine pass, sending Mazen Abu Sharh through on goal.
The forward looked to round goalkeeper Hossein Hosseini, but the latter brought him down, prompting the referee to award a penalty.
Al Muwashar found the back of the net from the spot, handing Al Ahli the lead.
The Saudi fans’ joy lasted just five minutes before Esteghlal responded.
Amir Arsalan Motahari took advantage of a miscommunication between two Al Ahli players deep in their own half, stealing the ball from Hussein Abdulghani and advancing into the box before coolly slotting past Yasser Al Mosailem for the equaliser in the 22nd minute.
There was soon another goal at Jaber Al Ahmed International Stadium and it was Al Ahli who took the lead again in the 29th minute.
Esteghlal was presented with an opportunity to equalize again five minutes before the break after Ali Al Asmari tripped Arash Rezavand inside the box and the referee immediately pointed to the spot.
Skipper Vorya Ghafouri took the penalty, aiming for the bottom right corner, but goalkeeper Al Mosailem made the save to keep his side in the lead.
An action-packed first half gave way to a second period largely dominated by Esteghlal attacks, with the Saudi goalkeeper being called into action on several occasions.
The result, following Al Wahda FSCC’s 1-0 win over Al Shorta earlier on Monday, gave Al Ahli top spot in the group with four points - ahead of Al Wahda on goal difference.
Esteghlal sits third with a point, while Al Shorta is level with the team, but is fourth on goal difference.