AFC Champions League 2018: Matchday Two Review: West Zone

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Al Sadd came up with another masterclass and look the team to beat already while Al Duhail also notched a vital win...

The AFC Champions League 2018 produced some interesting clashes on matchday two in the West Zone as the groups start to take shape. Here is a look at what the games produced this week:

GROUP A:


Al Gharafa 3-0 Tractorsazi Tabriz (Taremi 11', 90+4' Gregov (OG) 21')


Al Gharafa v Tractorsazi Tabriz; AFC Champions League

Qatar's Al Gharafa grabbed their first win of the AFC Champions League campaign after a 3-0 win over Iran's Tractorsazi Tabriz on Monday. Iranian striker Mehdi Taremi was the star of the game with a brace. 

The home team got off to a great start as Taremi powered a header in from Othman Al Yahri’s cross in the 11th minute. A big blunder from defender Sime Gregov then doubled Al Gharafa's lead in the 21st minute. Taremi outmuscled Gregov before squaring a pass for Wesley Sneijder. But Gregov's attempt to intercept saw the ball being deflected into the goal. 

Tractorsazi Tabriz could not get a goal back and Taremi made it 3-0 in the dying minutes of the game with a close-range finish. Tractorsazi Tabriz remain rooted to the bottom of the table after two losses while Al Gharafa are placed third. 


Al Ahli Saudi FC 2-1 Al Jazira FSC (Al Jassam 10', Aseri 70' - Al-Mosailem (OG) 89') 


Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli claimed all three points against UAE's Al Jazira after a 2-1 win at home on Monday in a Group A clash. 

The hosts surged into a lead in the 10th minute when captain Al Jassem fired in a low drive from the edge of the area. Al Jazira did have a couple of chances to level the scores but Romarinho could not take his opportunities. 

Al Ahli doubled their lead in the 70th minute after Abdulafttah Assiri was fouled by Yaqoub Al Hosani inside the box. Mohannad Aseri converted the penalty duly. A late own goal from Al Mosaileem gave Al Jazira a consolation but it was not enough. 

Al Ahli are top of the group now, with Al Jazira following in second place. 

 

GROUP B: 


Zobahan FC 2-0 PFC Lokomotiv (Tabrizi 47' Hosseini 90+2')


Zobahan won their first game of the tournament after a 2-0 result over Uzbekistan's Lokomotiv Tashkent on Monday. 

The first-half ended goalless as both teams tussled for superiority. However, two minutes into the second-half, the home team got their opener. Morteza Tabrizi was well-positioned to direct a header in from Seyed Mohammad Reza Hosseini's perfect free-kick. 

Lokomotiv were unable to get an equaliser with the Iranians defending stoutly. In injury time, Hosseini made sure of the result with a close-range strike after the Uzbek team's defence failed to deal with a corner. Both teams have won a game each now and are placed second and third on the table. 


Al Wahda 2-3 Al Duhail SC (Tagliabue 4' Batna 90+3' - El-Arabi 57', 80' Boudiaf 75')


Al Wahda v Al Duhail; AFC Champions League

Al Duhail SC staged a second-half comeback to keep their perfect record in Group B intact and record a 2-3 win away from home against Al Wahda on Monday. 

The home team had actually taken the lead in the fourth minute when Argentine striker Sebastian Tagliabue converted an early penalty. Al Wahda did well to go into the half-time break with thelead intact but were undone in the second-half. 

Youssef Msakni's squared ball was swept home by Youssef El-Arabi in the 57th minute as Al Duhail pulled level. In the 75th minute, they took the lead for good when a loose ball fell for Karim Boudiaf inside the box and lashed home. El-Arabi made it 3-1 five minutes later with a header. Though Mourad Batna scored a late penalty for Al Wahda, the result was already sealed as Al Duhail went top of the table. 

Al Wahda remain winless and rooted to the bottom of the group. 


GROUP C: 


FC Nasaf 1-0 Al Wasl (Golban 57')


Uzbekistan's FC Nasaf notched a much-needed win against UAE's Al Wasl on Tuesday with a 1-0 result at home. 

Al Wasl, without Fabio de Lima and Caio Canedo in attack, struggled to test the Nasaf defence in the first-half. After a goalless period of 45 minutes, Al Wasl broke the deadlock in the second half when centre-back Igo Golban powered in a header from Slavko Lukic's corner. 

They held on to their lead comfortable to register their first win of the campaign and rise to third spot on the table. 


Al Sadd 3-1 Persepolis (Bounedjah 36', 51' Khoukhi 66' - Nemati 90+4')


Al Sadd v Persepolis; AFC Champions League

Qatar's Al Sadd SC, playing their first continental home game in three years, made the occasion memorable with a 3-1 triumph over Iran's Persepolis. 

Al Sadd were the aggressors right from the start and their efforts were rewarded in the 36th minute when Baghdad Bounedjah met Afif's cross and headed in the first goal. 

Persepolis' hopes of making a comeback were dashed by Bounedjah in the 51st minute when he curled in a finish from inside the box after latching on to Xavi's clever pass. Substitute Boualem Khoukhi made it 3-0 with a stinging shot to seal the result. Siamak Nemati's late goal proved to be scant consolation as Al Sadd went top of the table. 

GROUP D:


Esteghlal 1-0 Al Hilal (Al Hafith (OG) 46')


Iran's Esteghlal went top of the Group D on Tuesday with a 1-0 win over Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal. 

Al Hilal had chances to score in the first half but were not converted and Esteghlal made them rue it at the start of the second half. 

Mame Thiam’s effort on target was deflected off defender Abdullah Al Hafith and wrongfooted the goalkeeper to nestle in the net and hand Esteghlal the winner. Al Hilal failed to test the home further as goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi was sent off in the 67th minute. 

Al Hilal are bottom of the table with just the one point while Esteghlal have four points from two games. 


Al Ain 1-1 Al Rayyan (Berg 10' - Hamdallah 28')


Al Ain v Al Rayyan; AFC Champions League

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Al Ain and Al Rayyan played out their second draw in as many matches in the AFC Champions League on Tuesday after a 1-1 result in UAE. 

Two penalties in the first-half defined the game as the two teams split points. Al Ain drew the first blood when Caio Fernandes was fouled inside the box in the 10th minute. Marcus Berg converted the penalty without much fuss. 

But Al Rayyan hit back in the 28th minute Abderrazzaq Hamdallah was brought down inside the Al AIn box. Hamdallah went on to convert the penalty which ensured both teams are yet to get their first wins of the tournament. 

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