Al Ahli beat Al Jazira to stay top; Gharafa finish with win

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Al Ahli secured a top-spot finish in AFC Champions League Group A on Tuesday after claiming a 2-1 win over Al Jazira at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.

It took the Saudi visitors just six minutes to break the deadlock; Hamdan Al-Shamrani bursting into the box with an excellent charge and drilling in a low cross for Saleh Al-Amri to stab home.

Right on the half-hour mark, it was 2-0 when a sweeping counterattack saw the ball switched out left to Moamen Zakaria, who proceeded to curl a fine first-time effort into the far corner.

Romarinho managed to reduce the deficit for the hosts eight minutes after the hour mark as he was left with a straightforward finish after being left unmarked inside the six-yard box.

But Al Ahli were ultimately able to hold out for the win to set up a Round of 16 meeting with Qatar’s Al Sadd in the process, while Jazira will meet Persepolis of Iran.

Over at the Yadegar e-Emam Stadium, Al Gharafa ensured they finished the campaign on a high as they came from behind to beat Tractor Sazi.

Although it was the Iranians who took the lead courtesy of Mohammad Iranpourian’s 31st-minute opener, the visitors’ pressure paid off as Moayad Hassan found the equaliser in the 70th minute.

Just six minutes later, Abdulaziz Hatem put them ahead before Mehdi Taremi struck with three minutes remaining to secure maximum points, which actually saw them finish level with Al Jazira but losing out on an inferior head-to-head record.