A brace from Salman Muwashar helped Al Ahli Saudi FC defeat Esteghlal FC 2-1 in a Group A tie of AFC Champions League 2020 at the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium in Kuwait City on Monday.
This is the Saudi Professional League club’s first win in ACL 2020 after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Al Wahda FC in their continental opener last week.
Al Ahli went ahead in the 17th minute after they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Mazen Abu Sharah by Seyed Hossein Hosseini and Muwashar converted from the spot to give the Saudis an early lead.
— Al-Ahli Saudi Club (@ALAHLI_FCEN) February 17, 2020
However, their lead only lasted five minutes as Amir Arsalan Motahari’s brilliant run and finish for Esteghlal restored parity. But, the Saudi side went ahead again when Muwashar found his second four minutes later from an Abdulrahman Ghareeb cross.
It looked like the Iranian side would once again level the score when Arash Rezavand won a penalty in the 39th penalty. But Vorya Ghafouri penalty was denied by a good save from Yasser Al-Mosailem.
Meanwhile, UAE’s Al Wahda FC stole all three points from Iraq’s Al Shorta SC as former Standard Liege forward Paul-Jose M’Poku scored a late winner at the Franso Hariri Stadium in Erbil earlier in the day.
— #ACL2020 (@TheAFCCL) February 17, 2020
Al Shorta were in command for the majority of the game, but failed to find the back of the net despite a total of 16 attempts during the 90 minutes. Nabeel Sabah went close for the Iraqi Premier League champions in the 31st minute only for his shot to be blocked by Brazilian centre-back Lucas Pimenta.
The Iraqis were in command when it came to possession and creation of opportunities and in the 56th minute, Ali Yousif Hashim’s shot was cleared off the line by Al Wahda defender Abdulla Alkarbi.
In the 74th minute, substitute Alaa Ali Mhawi’s shot placed into the bottom corner was denied by a spectacular save from Al Wahda goalkeeper Mohamed Al Shamsi.
BEST TEAM GOALS from AFC Cup & ACL MD1
However, Al Shorta’s profligacy was to be punished by the UAE Pro-League side when M’Poku glanced a header into the back of the net with less than two minutes left to play giving the Emiratis their first three points of ACL 2020.