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AFC Champions League Review: Al Ahli's 100 per cent record ends, Zob Ahan grab first win

Al Ahli saw their 100 per cent AFC Champions League record come to an end on Monday in an entertaining 2-2 home draw against Al Ain.

The Group C leaders of Saudi Arabia had won their opening two matches, but were twice pegged back by the visitors from United Arab Emirates as they were forced to settle for a point.

Aqeel Al-Sahbi put Al Ahli in front by finding the top corner with an outrageous flick after 26 minutes, but the visitors were level within 105 seconds when Nassir Al Shamrani struck from a tight angle, Omar Abdulrahman the creator.

Al Ahli moved back into the lead through Ioannis Fetfatzidis five minutes into the second half, but again the lead did not last long, Al-Sahbi making it a goal at each end as he headed past his own goalkeeper Yasser Al-Mosailem.

After Al-Sabhi went from hero to zero, Al Ahli remain two points clear of Al Ain at the top of the pool, with the two sides set to do battle in a mouth-watering return fixture on matchday four next month.

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Zob Ahan of Iran picked up their first victory of the group stage, defeating 10-man Bunyodkor 2-0 in Uzbekistan.

The visitors only had one point from two games coming into the match, but boosted their chances of progression while ensuring Bunyodkor remain rooted to the bottom of Group C.

Home defender Javlon Mirabdullaev's mistake allowed Jerry Bengtson to score after 55 minutes after being set up by Mahdi Mahdipour.

Hopes of a Bunyodkor comeback were dented when Vadim Cemirtan saw red eight minutes later for a foul on Daniel Esmaeilifar.

But it was not until the sixth minute of added time that Zob Ahan sealed victory, substitute Morteza Tabrizi scoring a penalty after Alisher Sanoev had brought down Ehsan Pahlevan in the penalty area.



Esteghlal seized control of Group A with a comfortable 2-0 home victory over Lokomotiv Tashkent.

All four teams in the group were level on three points coming into Wednesday's matches.

But Iranian outfit Esteghlal took a big step towards the knockout stages with a victory against the side from Uzbekistan brought to them by a goal in each half.

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A powerful strike from Farshid Esmaeili put the hosts in front after 37 minutes before Ali Ghorbani's curling finish with six minutes remaining ended Lokomotiv's hopes, Milad Zakipour with the assist.

It was a game to forget for Lokomotiv, who failed to register a shot on target.

The other match in Group A saw Al Ahli of the United Arab Emirates draw 0-0 with Al Taawoun, leaving the teams third and second in respectively, tied on four points.

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