Unbeaten Al Ahli stay ahead of Gharafa, Jazira

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Al Ahli remain three points clear at the top of AFC Champions League Group A following a 1-1 draw with Al Gharafa on Tuesday evening.

Following a goalless first half at the King Abdullah Sports City, it was the Qatari visitors who broke the deadlock in the 56th minute.

Having done well to find space down the right, Moayad Hassan proceeded to play an inviting ball across the face of goal that was begging to be converted, and Mehdi Taremi duly obliged by finishing into the back of the net.

However, Al Ahli mustered a near-instant reply as Saeed Al-Mowalad curled a brilliant cross to the far post for Moamen Zakaria to perfect guide a header home and earn his side a share of the spoils.

While the Saudi giants continue to sit pretty at the top of the group, Al Gharafa remain third behind Al Jazira – who also drew 1-1 with Tractor Sazi – due to their inferior head-to-head record.

The situation could have been even better for Jazira as they took the lead at the Yadegar-e Emam Stadium a minute before halftime; Romarinho getting in behind the opposition defence to latch onto a long ball over the top and finishing past Jordi Almeida.

But, with 12 minute remaining, Farzad Hatami escaped his marker’s clutches to meet Ehsan Pahlavan’s left-wing delivery and score with a powerful header to earn Tractor Sazi only their second point of the campaign.