AFC Champions League Review: Al Ain beat Zob Ahan, Al Hilal progress
Al Ain took a big step toward the knockout stages in Group C, while Al Hilal became the first team to book their ticket for the next round.
Al Ain beat Zob Ahan 3-0 at the Foolad Shahr Stadium to go top of AFC Champions League Group C with one game to go.
Danilo Asprilla opened the scoring halfway through the first half after being set up by Caio, before Jerry Bengtson missed a gilt-edged chance to level the scoring when he aimed a penalty straight at goalkeeper Khalid Eisa in the dying seconds of the first half.
The Honduras international's miss proved to be costly as Omar Abdulrahman doubled Al Ain's lead on the hour mark, with Mohammed Abdulrahman putting the match to bed in the 81st minute.
In the second Group C encounter, Al Ahli would have reached the round of 16 with a win over Bunyodkor, but the Saudi Arabians were surprisingly beaten 2-0.
Akramjon Komilov opened the scoring after just eight minutes, with Eldor Shomurodov making it two after the break to seal the win.
Monday's results leave Al Ain top of the table heading into the final matchday, with Al Ahli and Zob Ahan still very much in contention as well.
Just two points separate the top three teams in Group C! April 24, 2017
In Group D, Al Hilal held Persepolis to a scoreless draw at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex to become the first team to qualify for the round of 16.
Both teams had a number of chances to break the deadlock, but inspired performances from the two goalkeepers saw the game end goalless as Al Hilal booked their ticket for the next round.
Elsewhere, Al Rayyan missed out on the chance to qualify for the knockout stages as well, as they were hammered 5-1 by Al Wahda at Al Nahyan Stadium.
Michael Laudrup's men got off to a good start when Sergio Garcia handed them the lead in the 21st minute after some good work from Rodrigo Tabata, but Al Wahda turned things around before the break, Ahmed Al Akberi and Sebastian Tagliabue finding the net.
And the home side marched on after the interval as Salem Sultan, Tagliabue and Khalil Ibrahim struck in the second half for their first win of the group stages.
Al Rayyan remain second in their section with seven points from five games, one point clear of third-placed Persepolis, with Al Wahda occupying fourth place on four points heading into the final matchday.
Here's how Group D stands after five rounds of matches! Who will join in the Round of 16? April 24, 2017
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