The first day of the 2018 AFC Champions League Group Stage culminated today when Al Ahli confirmed their win over Tractor Sazi with a 1-0 scoreline.
A disappointing performance in hindsight by Al Ahli was rewarded with 3 points when Sergey Rebrov’s side took advantage via a Mohaned Asiri header in the 67th minute to score the only goal of the night.
UAE side and Arabian Gulf League’s second place Al Wahda – admittedly in the absence of Sebastian Tagliabue, Mourad Batna and Rim Chang Woo – were thrashed 5-0 by Uzbek side Lokomotiv Tashkent to begin their ACL campaign poorly.
Nivaldo Ferreira opened the scoring for Lokomotiv in the 25th minute, before a trio of goals between minutes 53 and 59 saw Al Wahda go 4-0 down by the hour mark. Within those goals was a goal of the season contender by Lokomotiv’s Ikromjon Alibaev.
Elsewhere in the tournament, Al Duhail beat Zobahan 3-1 with three goals in the last 15 minutes of the game to overturn their 1-0 deficit. Karim Boudiaf hit twice in the 74th and 76th minute, before Youssef Msakni scored the third.
Al Jazira and Al Gharafa played out an entertaining match that saw 5 goals, with the Pride of Abu Dhabi coming out winners in the end, 3-2. Romarinho opened the scoring for Al Jazira in the 10th minute via a wonder goal from the right flank, but Mahdi Taremi equalized just a minute later to make it 1-1.
Ali Mabkhout then added to Al Jazira’s score in the 27th minute, before fellow Emirati forward Ahmed Al Hashmi added the third in the 69th minute with a strong strike into the far corner from long range.
Wesley Sneijder then scored his debut ACL goal in the 71st minute, taking advantage of a rebound to score into the empty net, but his strike was merely a consolation for the Qatari side.
The action resumes tomorrow with the rest of the West Asian sides playing, in addition to the kick off of the East Asian groups.