AFC Champions League: Al Zawraa brought back to earth by Al Nassr

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Al Nassr recorded their first win of AFC Champions League 2019 on Monday after impressively beating Al Zawraa 4-1 at the King Fahd International Stadium.

Having claimed a 5-0 triumph over Al Wasl on Match Day 2, it was Al Zawraa who headed in the Group A encounter high on confidence and they duly drew first blood in the 12th minute.

After the hosts failed to fully clear their lines from a corner, the ball was eventually worked back into the box to Ahmed Fadhel, who created space for himself with a lovely fake before clinically guiding a shot into the back of the net.

But nine minutes later, Al Nassr were awarded a penalty when Fahad Al-Jumeiah nipped in to win possession inside the opposition box before being tripped by Samal Saeed, and Abdullah Al-Salem made no mistake in converting from 12 yards.

A minute before the half-hour mark, the hosts went ahead courtesy of a brilliant strike by Saudi Arabia international Yahya Al-Shehri, who lined up a freekick 25 yards out before curling a sublime effort in at the near post that had Jalal Hassan beaten all ends up.

Yahya then turned provider in the 59th minute with an inswinging corner that saw Jalal attempt to claim but leave himself in no man’s land, allowing Omar Hawsawi to guide a header into the unguarded goal.

And, in the fourth minute of injury-time, Al Nassr sealed their first win of the campaign at the third attempt as Giuliano spread the ball out right to Hamad Al-Mansor, before darting into the area to meet his return pass with an emphatic first-time finish into the top corner.

AL NASSR: Brad Jones, Hamad Al-Mansor, Omar Hawsawi (Maicon Roque 84’), Abdullah Madu, Awadh Khamis, Abdulaziz Al-Jebreen, Abdulrahman Al-Dossari, Nawaf Al-Farshan (Giuliano 46’), Yahya Al-Shehri, Fahad Al-Jumeiah, Abdullah Al-Salem (Firas Al-Buraikan 90’).

AL ZAWRAA: Jalal Hassan, Abbas Qasim, Samal Saeed, Mohammed Abdul-Zahra (Omar Mansouri 36’), Hussein Jwayed (Jabbar Kareem 67’), Safaa Hadi, Ahmed Fadhel, Mustafa Mohammed, Mohannad Abdul-Raheem, Ahmed Jalal, Alaa Abbas (Mohammed Ridha 77’).