AFC Champions League wrap: Slender lead for Esteghlal

AFC Champions League 2017 Esteghlal FC (IRN) vs Al Ain (UAE)

Esteghlal defeated Al Ain while two teams named Al Ahli played out to a 1-1 draw in Monday’s AFC Champions League first-leg Round of 16 ties.

Esteghlal 1-0 Al Ain

There was late drama at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran as hosts Esteghlal grabbed a last-minute goal to secure a 1-0 victory over Al Ain.

The visiting Emiratis looked on course for a valuable away draw but gave away a penalty in injury time to hand the hosts victory on a silver platter. Both teams finished the match with 10 men.

Esteghlal had the better of the opportunities in the contest, with Farshid Esmaeili rifling a shot at the keeper as early as the second minute, and again midway through the second half.

Al Ain were reduced to 10 men 13 minutes from time after Saeed Juma was given a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Seyed Mohsen Karimi.

But Esteghlal’s one-man advantage lasted just eight minutes as Esmaeili was sent off for retaliating against Al Ain striker Caio during an off-the-ball incident.

With time running out, Al Ain midfielder Lee Myung-joo handled the ball inside his own area, allowing Kaveh Rezaei to step and convert from the penalty spot to ensure Esteghlal take a narrow one-goal advantage into the second leg.

Al Ahli (KSA) 1-1 Al Ahli (UAE)

al ahli (ksa) al ahli (uae)

Al Ahli of the United Arab Emirates will be the happier team after claiming a valuable away goal in a 1-1 draw Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah.

Khamis Esmail gave the visitors the lead against the run of play in the 20th minute after pouncing on a failed clearance from Everton Ribiero’s free kick.

His shot from inside the area was a scuffed one, but it deflected off the outstretched leg of Al Ahli Saudi goalkeeper Yasser Al Mosailem and found the back of the net.

The hosts kept pressing and got their reward when Abdulfattah Asiri levelled the scores seven minutes before the break after latching onto Mohamed Abdelshafi’s through ball and producing a finish equal to the build-up.

There were no further goals, leaving both teams with all to play for ahead of the second leg.