Matchday three action hit four groups in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League on Tuesday and we have a short summary of what transpired here:
Esteghlal Khouzestan 1-1 Lekhwiya SC [Beytsaeid 7’ - Ismail Mohammad 11’]
Iranian outfit Esteghlal Khouzestan’s perfect record in Group B came to end after Lekhwiya SC held them to a draw on Tuesday.
Hasan Beytsaeid put the hosts up front in the seventh minute after converting a penalty he earned himself. But parity was restored within four minutes of the opening goal when Ismail Mohammad latched on to Chico Flores’ header across the face of the goal and found the back of the net for Lekhwiya.
Incidentally, that was the first goal conceded by Esteghlal Khouzestan so far in the competition. There were not many clear-cut chances created by either side in the game as the draw means Esteghlal maintains the two-point advantage they enjoy at the top of Group B.
Al Fateh 3-1 Al Jazira [Al-Zaqan 12’, 50’ Al-Juhaim 45+1’ - Mabkhout 38’]
Al Fateh piled more misery on UAE’s Al Jazira by consigning them to their third consecutive loss in Group B after a 3-1 result at home on Tuesday.
Al Fateh started the match really well and got the lead in the 12th minute through Ali Al-Zaqan who received a pass just inside the penalty box and showed quick feet before arrowing in an effort off the inside of the near post. But Al Jazira levelled the scores in the 38th minute in bizarre fashion. Al Fateh goalkeeper Al Oaisher sent a clearance straight at Ali Mabkhout who was closing the goalkeeper down and the ricochet went inside the goal.
But Al Faten restored their lead through Hamad Al Juhaim just before the half-time whistle. Al Juhaim met Tawfiq Buhumaid’s cross with a powerful header which nestled in the back of the net. Five minutes after the restart, the result was very much sealed when Al-Zaqan completed his brace by sending a sumptuous free-kick to the top corner of Al Jazira goal.
The three points sees Al Fateh sit third in the group while Al Jazira are yet to open their account.
Al Rayyan 3-1 Persepolis [Tabata 19’, 58’ Garcia 88’ - Taremi 6’]
Qatar’s Al Rayyan moved back to the top of Group D after an enterprising victory at home against Iran’s Persepolis on Tuesday.
Though the away side took the lead in the sixth minute through Mehdi Taremi who is on a hot streak right now. The tall striker finished a delightful pass from Mohsen Mosalman to spark panic among the home faithful. But Michael Laudrup-coached side hit back in the 19th minute when Rodrigo Tabata made space for himself inside the box and rifled a low shot in. The Spanish striker would go on to score a penalty in the 58th minute, awarded after Sebastian Soria upended Jalal Hosseini inside the box.
Then Tabata went on to deliver a pinpoint free kick in the 88th minute for Sergio Garcia to volley home and settle the result on the night. Persepolis are back in third spot after this defeat.
Al Wahda 2-2 Al Hilal [Tagliabue 45+1’ Dszudszak 54’ - Al Abid 5’ Kharbin 69’]
Al Wahda picked up their first point of the campaign after playing out a pulsating 2-2 affair at home against Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia.
It was Al Hilal who started the game well and earned the lead in the fifth minute through Nawaf Al Abid who fired in Al Burayk’s drilled cross from the right wing. It took Al Wahda till the end of first half to muster an equaliser through Argentine forward Sebastian Tagliabue.
They went on to take the lead in the 54th minute when Hungarian midfielder Balazs Dzsudzsak volleyed home from an acute angle. It looked like Al Hilal’s unbeaten run was coming to an end when Nawaf Al Abid was sent off just past the hour mark for committing a second bookable offence. But.Omar Kharbin levelled the scores in the 69th minute for Al Hilal when he got on the end of Al Burayk’s through ball, rounded the goalkeeper and slotted home.
The result sees Al Hilal lose their top spot in the group to Al Rayyan.
Ulsan Hyundai 0-0 Muangthong United
Thai champions Muangthong United claimed a point against favourites Ulsan Hyundai in South Korea after a goalless but hard-fought draw which means they are yet to taste defeat in the competition.
It was Muangthong who started the game well but were soon overshadowed by Ulsan who should have taken the lead through Kim In-sung who almost turned home Mislav Orsic’s cross from the left at the back post. Muangthong captain Teerasil Dangda found himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper at one point but he could not beat the Ulsan goalkeeper.
Ulsan had several more chances but could not convert them as they settled for a point which sees them occupy third place while Muangthong are second with five points.
Kashima Antlers 3-0 Brisbane Roar [Suzuki 43’ Ueda 76’ Endo 79’]
Japanese side Kashima Antlers bounced back from a defeat in the last round by comfortably defeating Brisbane Roar 3-0 in Ibaraki on Tuesday.
Kashima surged into the lead in the 43rd minute when Yuma Suzuki scored a superb volley from Yukitoshi Ito’s cross which set the tone for the match. Brisbane were unable to offer much and their muffled roars were silenced in the 76th minute altogether by Naomichi Ueda. The Kashima defender bundled a corner home to put the result beyond any doubt.
Yasushi Endo added some gloss to the scoreline in the 79th minute when rifled in a shot across the area to the far corner after cutting in on his left foot.
The win takes Kashima Antlers to the top spot in Group E while Brisbane Roar are bottom with just the single point to show for their efforts so far.
Guangzhou Evergrande 1-1 Kawasaki Frontale [Alan 26’ - Kobayashi 90+5’]
Guangzhou Evergrande blew a chance to consolidate their position atop Group G after the Chinese side were held to a dramatic 1-1 draw by Kawasaki Frontale on Tuesday.
Brazilian striker Alan gave Luis Felipe Scolari’s side the lead in the 26th minute with what was his third goal of the campaign. After receiving Ricardo Goulart’s low cross inside the box, he made space and found the bottom corner with aplomb to send Scolari into ecstasy.
But the Chinese side were made to pay dear for not extending their lead in the fifth minute of injury time when Yu Hanchao was deemed to have handled the ball inside the penalty box. Yu Kobayashi proceeded to convert the spot kick and earn Kawasaki their third draw of the campaign.
The result means Guangzhou are now level atop Group G with Suwon Bluewings while Kawasaki are third, but only two points adrift.
Eastern SC 0-1 Suwon Bluewings [Johnathan 78’]
Suwon Samsung Bluewings claimed their first victory of the tournament, and in the process went joint top of Group G, by downing a plucky Eastern SC 0-1 in Hong Kong.
Suwon dominated the game throughout the first half but were unable to fashion a goal against a determined and stubborn Eastern SC backline. In a bid to find a breakthrough, Suwon sent on Johnathan and Yeom Ki-hun in the second half and the pair combined brilliantly to score what proved to be the winner in the 78th minute.
Yeom’s beautifully weighted cross was headed home by Johnathan to help Suwon notch all three points on Tuesday. They now have five points alongside Guangzhou Evergrande.