2021 ACL: Esteghlal Pummels Al-Ahli
- April, 16, 2021 - 12:33
- Sports news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Iran’s Esteghlal defeated Al-Ahli Saudi FC 5-2 in its opening match at the 2021 AFC Champions League Group C.
The two sides had met in the group stage last year, and exchanged wins with Al-Ahli winning 2-1 in Kuwait on Matchday Two and Esteghlal responding with a 3-0 victory in Doha on the final matchday.
In the match held at King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah on Thursday, Farshid Esmaeili opened the scoring for the Blues just six minutes into the match.
Al-Ahli got a golden chance to equalize in 27th minute after Milic brought Salman Al Mowashar down inside the box prompting the referee to point to the spot. Syrian forward Omar Al Soma stepped up and converted to bring Al-Ahli level.
Mohammad Naderi put Esteghlal in front after taking advantage of a defensive mix up inside the box, stabbing in from close range in the 54th minute.
A quick break halfway through the second period saw Motahari run into acres of space down the right before feeding youngster Mehdi Ghayedi at the far post and the Esteghlal number 10 was left with a simple task to slot home his side’s third of the night.
Al-Ahli captain Motaz Hawsawi sent a cross into the box that was deflected into the path of Al Soma who showed his poacher’s instinct to send it past the Esteghlal goalkeeper, bringing his side to within a goal of its opponents in the 79th minute.
Ghayedi made it 4-2 with a powerful shot from 30 yards out to restore Esteghlal’s two-goal cushion and add his second of the game.
The goal fest was concluded in the last minute of normal time after Mohammad Al Bassas tripped substitute Cheick Diabate inside the box and the Malian striker converted the resulting penalty himself to round off the scoring, making it 5-2 at the final whistle.
Esteghlal will face Al-Shorta of Iraq next, while Al-Ahli play Qatar’s Al-Duhail who had beaten Al-Shorta 2-0 in the earlier Thursday fixture.