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ACL: Al Wahda do the double over Al Rayyan but Sharjah held by Pakhtakor

07:38 GMT+3 24/04/2021
Omar Khibrin Al Wahda
The win puts Al Wahda in a promising position in their group...

Al Wahda registered a narrow 1-0 victory over nine-man Al Rayyan in their AFC Champions League group E encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Friday. 

Omar Khibrin's 71st-minute strike from the spot was the difference between the two sides which helped the Abu Dhabi club move to seven points from the first four games. It was their second victory over Al Rayyan in three days.

The match started on an even note as both teams were locked in an intense midfield battle. The game was clamouring for some creativity in the attacking third as neither team could create any significant goal-scoring opportunity in the first half. Although, Tim Matavz's longe range effort called Fahad Younis into action, the shot did not have enough venom to beat the keeper. 

The most significant incident that happened in the first half was when Ahmed Abelmaqsoud was shown the red card when he tripped Abdulla Anwar. 

Having the numerical advantage, Henk Ten Cate's men started pressing for the opener in the second half. Their efforts finally paid dividends when Franck Kom fouled Fares Jumaa inside the box and a penalty was awarded. The referee also showed the second yellow to Kom and gave the marching orders which reduced Al Rayyan to nine men. 

Khibrin made no mistake to score from 12 yards which handed Al Wahda a much-needed win in their bid to progress to the knockouts. 

Al Wahda's Ismael Matar was also shown the red card in injury-time but it did not affect the result of the game.

On the other hand, Sharjah were held to a 1-1 draw by Pakhtakor at the Sharjah Stadium. A late strike from Mohammed Khalfan helped the hosts equalise after Eren Derdiyok put the Uzbek side ahead around the hour mark. 

The visitors had the upper hand from the off and Sharjah's keeper Adel Al Hosani was kept busy with relentless strikes from Pakhtakor's forwards. 

Pieter Huistra's men got a couple of golden opportunities to put their nose in front but they were not clinical enough to make the most of those chances. However, Derdiyok finally broke the deadlock when he latched on to Alijonov’s wayward shot and converted it. 

After conceding the goal Sharjah started playing with more intent and purpose and just two minutes from regulation time, Khalfan levelled the score after getting on the end of Abdulaziz Salem's low cross. 

In spite of this draw, Sharjah remain on top of Group B with eight points from four matches and will go up against Iraq's Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya in their next match.