Sneijder nets in Gharafa loss; Lokomotiv off to a flyer

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Wesley Sneijder was on target for Al Gharafa in their 2018 AFC Champions League Group A opener but was unable to prevent them from losing 3-2 to Al Jazira on Monday.

It was Al Jazira who had broke the deadlock at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium after ten minutes courtesy of Romarinho’s opener, only for Mehdi Taremi to equalise for the visitors a minute later.

Ali Mabkhout then restored the hosts’ advantage three minutes before the half-hour mark, before Ahmed Al-Attas added a third in the 69th minute.

Netherlands international Sneijder then reduced the deficit for Gharafa in the 71st minute with a first-time effort on the rebound, although Jazira were ultimately able to hold out for maximum points.

Elsewhere in Group A, Muhannad Asiri scored the only goal at the Al-Seeb Stadium to hand Al Ahli a 1-0 triumph over Tractor Sazi.

Over in Group B, Lokomotiv Tashkent got off to a flyer as they claimed an emphatic 5-0 victory over Al Wahda at the Lokomotiv Stadium.

After Nivaldo had opened the scoring in the 25th minute, Ikromjon Alibaev made it 2-0 in the 53rd minute before the contest was effectively ended three minutes later when Al Wahda’s Salem Sultan scored an own-goal.

However, the hosts refused to take their foot off the pedal and Sardor Rashidov got in on the act in the 59th minute, before Alibaev struck again with three minutes remaining to cap off a resounding display by the Uzbekistan outfit.

Finally, Al Duhail came from behind to beat Zob Ahan 3-1 at the Abdulla bin Khalifa Stadium.

The Iranian visitors had initially been leading after Kiros found the back of the net in the 12th minute, only for Karim Boudiaf to equalise in the 74th minute.

Boudiaf then doubled his tally for the evening two minutes later to put the hosts ahead, and Youssef Msakni went on to seal the win with six minutes remaining.