AFC Champions League 2017 Roundup: Crucial wins for Lekhwiya and Al Hilal
Matchday four of the AFC Champions League in Groups B and D saw several interesting results. Let's recap the action from Monday:
AL JAZIRA 0-0 AL FATEH
The stragglers in Group B, Al Jazira and Al Fateh, played out a goalless draw in Abu Dhabi which sees the Saudi Arabian side keep their hopes of qualification alive while Al Jazira have only the slimmest chance of making it through.
- Pochettino leaving PSG makes sense: Messi, Neymar and Mbappe are undermining the coach at every turn
- Football on TV this week: Matches to watch & live stream in India today, tomorrow & this weekend
- ATK Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal: Head-to-head record, top goalscorers and all you need to know about Kolkata Derby
- Salah and Mane draw blanks but Liverpool's 'Red Hurricane' blows Southampton away
In what turned out to be a dull and flat encounter, neither team created enough chances to take home all three points, bar an offside goal in the first half. It was the home team striker Ali Mabkhout who put the ball in the back of the net, albeit from an offside position. In the second half, Al Fateh forced AL Jazira goalkeeper into a good save from a close range effort but did nothing else to force the issue.
The point means Al Jazira have opened their account in the group but is unlikely to do them any favours. Al Fateh, though, have five points and are in third position but are only three points behind the leaders Lekhwiya.
LEKHWIYA 2-1 ESTEGHLAL KHOUZESTAN [Tae-hee 35' Ali 43' - Nong 9']
Qatar's Lekhwiya SC came from behind to notch a fine 2-1 victory over Esteghlal Khouzestan in Doha that moves them to the top of Group B. Lekhwiya were held to a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture in the previous round but they ensured the dynamics in Group B remained complex with a fine win.
It was Esteghlal Khouzestan who got off a to a roaring start in Doha though. Aloys Nong fired the visitors ahead in the ninth minute after collecting a cross from Hassan Beyt Saeed and firing low into the corner. But the home team got their rewards for a positive gameplay in the 35th minute when playmaker Nam Tae-hee unleashed a stunning strike from 20 yards out on the left edge of the penalty box. Eight more minutes later, Lekhwiya were in the lead. It was Nam Tae-hee again who did the good work down the left and slipped in a cross at the near post which was spilled on to Almoez Ali's body by the goalkeeper and the ball ricocheted back into the net.
Lekhwiya did well to hold on that lead and notch three important points which sees them sit atop the group with eight points while Esteghlal Khouzestan dropped down to the second spot with seven points.
AL HILAL 1-0 AL WAHDA [Eduardo 24']
Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal moved back to the top of Group D after a closely-fought 1-0 win over UAE's Al Wahda on Monday, courtesy a penalty from Brazilian striker Carlos Eduardo.
Though this was a must-win game for Al Wahda, who only have a single point to show for their efforts, it was Al Hilal who dominated the game. The home team were awarded a penalty in the 24th minute when Leo Bonatini was fouled by Al Wahda custodian Rashed Ali and it was duly put away by Carlos Eduardo. However, there was a drama at the other end when Al Wahda were awarded a spot kick of their own two minutes before the half-time break. Alas, Sebastian Tagliabue's kick was saved by Abdullah Al Mayoof.
Al Hilal easily held on the win and three points which sees them enjoy a point advantage over second-placed Al Rayyan.
PERSEPOLIS 0-0 AL RAYYAN
Iranian outfit Persepolis and Qatar's Al Rayyan shared the spoils as they played out a 0-0 draw in Tehran on Monday which sees Al Rayyan drop down to second place in the table.
There were chances for either team to claim the full quota of points on the day but squandered every one of them. The best chance of the game came when Persepolis were awarded a penalty on the stroke of half-time after Mehdi Taremi was brought down. The in-form Iran striker, though, would send a panenka penalty over the bar to send relief flooding through Michael Laudrup's team.
In the 80th minute, Persepolis had another great chance when Ali Alipour headed straight at the Al Rayyan goalkeeper from close-range. Despite missing several chances, Al Rayyan could have had the win deep in stoppage time when Sebastian Soria rattled the post with a low shot across goal. But it was not meant to be as Persepolis and Al Rayyan split the points.