Tuesday saw a fair few AFC Champions League Qualifiers take place in the West Zone and we took a look at the action.
Bunyodkor (Uzb) 2-0 Al Shabab (UAE)
In Tashkent, Bunyodkor entertained Saudi Arabia’s Al Shabab without the benefit of a competitive game since the Uzbek league finished in November, but despite the lack of serious action, coach Sergey Lushchan will be ecstatic with how his team performed.
Two first-half goals from Eldor Shomurodov ensured the hosts advanced to the next round.
Naft Tehran (Irn) 0-2 Al Jaish (Qat)
Naft Tehran met Qatar’s Al Jaish at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium in a repeat of the fixture involving the two teams 12 months ago.
The first-half was a dull affair as both sides seemed reluctant to commit numbers forward for fear of being exposed at the other end of the field.
However, the deadlock was broken after 63 minutes by Al Jaish’s Abderrazak Hamdallah before Romarinho sealed progression to the next stage with a 90th minute goal.
Al Jazira (UAE) 2-2 Al-Sadd (Qat) [Al Jazira won on penalties by a score of 3-2 AET]
Qatar’s Al Sadd, winners of the continental crown in 2011, faced off against Al Jazira from the United Arab Emirates, with Al Sadd struggling for form domestically.
It was a topsy-turvy encounter as Al Jazira went a goal behind after Hamza Alsenhaji scored in the 22nd minute for Al Sadd.
However, two goals for Al Jazira from former Stoke striker Kenwyne Jones and Ali Ahmed Mabkhout saw them lead with 25 minutes remaining.
Then, with only two minutes left in regular time, Alsenhaji forced the tie into extra-time as he hit the back of the net.
Extra-time passed without major incident and it was Al Jazira who will live to fight another day in this year’s AFC Champions League Qualifiers as they won 3-2 on penalties.
Al-Ittihad (Sau) 2-1 Al Wehdat (Jor)
Al-Ittihad coach Victor Piturca warned his side not to be complacent when the two-time winners met Jordan’s Al Wehdat in the playoff rounds of the 2016 AFC Champions League on Tuesday evening.
However, his players appeared to have not listened to his caution as they slipped a goal behind after just 11 minutes courtesy of a goal from Elhadji Malick Tall.
It did not take long for Al-Ittihad to hit back though as Venezuela’s Gelmin Rivas fired home just six minutes later. Then, in the defining moment of the game, Mukhtar Fallatah scored from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time.
The Saudi Arabian side were clinical in closing out the game as their goal was never really threatened in the second-half.