Al Wahda beat Lokomotiv, enter ACL last 16 - GulfToday

Al Wahda beat Lokomotiv, enter ACL last 16

Al Wahda

Al Wahda’s Khalil Ibrahim (left) vies for the ball with Lokomotiv’s Husniddin Gafurov during their ACL match in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

DUBAI: Emirati club Al Wahda rallied from a goal down to beat Uzbekistan’s Lokomotiv 3-1 and storm into the last 16 of the AFC Champions League on Tuesday.

Tashkent-based Lokomotiv had beaten Al Wahda in all their three previous clashes and it appeared that would be the case once again when Temurkhuja Abdukholikov put the visitors ahead in the 47th minute after a gritty first half in the Group B match failed to produce any goals.

Abdukholikov’s powerful header off a whipped cross from the right from Arslanmurat Amanov beat Al Wahda goalkeeper Mohamed Al Shamsi, stunning the home spectators into silence.

But Al Wahda got lucky in the 60th minute as they equalised through an own goal, defender Igor Jelic deflecting the ball into the Lokomotiv net off Argentine Sebastian Tagliabue’s powerful first-time shot after Ismael Matar had supplied the ball to him.

Fired up, they piled on the pressure and earned a penalty when Oleg Zoteev handled the ball, and Brazilian Leonardo da Silva made it 2-1 from the spot in the 77th minute with his eighth goal of the tournament so far.

The hosts sealed their fourth straight victory in the first minute of added time, Khalil Ibrahim scoring off a deflection from goalkeeper Shamsi after he had blocked Leonardo’s shot.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad also advanced to the knockout stage with a 2-0 win over Qatar’s Al Rayyan in Doha.

Nasser Al Shamrani put Al Ittihad ahead in the 62nd minute off an assist from Fahad Al Muwallad and Brazilian Romarinho doubled the advantage in the five minutes later, with Muwallad again the provider.

It was Al Ittihad’s third victory in five matches, but Al Rayyan suffered their fourth loss and crashed out of the tournament with just three points to their name.

From Group A, Iran’s Zobahan and Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr advanced to the last 16 with a draw and a win, respectively. While Zobahan were held 2-2 by Iraq’s Al Zawraa in Karbala, Al Nassr convincingly beat the UAE’s Al Wasl 3-1 in Riyadh.

Al Nassr and Zobahan will clash next week to decide the group toppers.

Rui Vitoria opted to rest striker Abdelrazak Hamdallah ahead of a crucial clash with Al Hazm in the domestic league on Saturday, but his side were dominant from start to finish and stormed to victory at King Fahd International Stadium.

Al Wasl goalkeeper Sultan Al Mantheri was made to work hard, making two important saves to deny Fahad bin Jumayah inside the first 20 minutes.

There was little Al Manthari or his defence could do as the Emiratis finally yielded to Al Nassr pressure at the half-hour mark.

Abdulaziz Al Jibreen’s cross-field pass was chested down by Giuliano who then cut inside from the left and unleashed a powerful drive into the bottom corner to put the hosts in the lead.

Taking confidence from their first goal, Al Nassr were celebrating again just four minutes later as Yahya Al Shehri sent a defence-splitting overhead pass to Jumayah who broke free and slipped the ball underneath Al Manthari with a well-taken finish to make it 2-0.

There was no slowing down for Vitoria’s men after the restart as they continued their domination and added a third in the 56th minute.

A well-worked set-piece exercise saw Maicon play the ball to Giuliano down the right and the Brazilian crossed for Abdullah Al Salim who swept home the third from inside the six-yard box.