Football

Group C: Al Duhail edge Esteghlal in AFC Champions League thriller

A scintillating display of attacking talent at King Abdullah Sport City Stadium saw seven goals scored as Qatar’s Al Duhail SC emerged 4-3 winners over Islamic Republic of Iran’s Esteghlal FC on Matchday Three of the 2021 AFC Champions League Group C on Wednesday.

Both sides went into the Matchday Three encounter hopeful of extending an unbeaten record, with Al Duhail having collected four points from their opening two games and Esteghlal having earned the full six points.

Esteghlal wasted no time, instantly taking the game to their opponents and were rewarded with the opener within four minutes. Seyed Ahmad Mousavi’s whipped cross from the right was converted into the back of the net through Amir Arsalan Motahari’s powerful header.

Al Duhail’s response did not take long as Abdullah Al Ahrak’s long ball into the box was controlled by Edmilson who then fired a left-footed effort from six yards out that was parried by goalkeeper Mohammad Rashid Mazaheri into the path of Michael Olunga who nodded home the equaliser in the 10th minute.

The Kenyan striker then added his second of the night, pouncing on a misplaced pass from Esteghlal centre-back Masoud Rigi to seize possession inside the box and slot home Al Duhail’s second just before the half-hour mark.

Coach Farhad Majidi’s men were determined to get back into the game and 10 minutes before the half time break, they had restored parity as Farshid Esmaeili supplied a defence-splitting pass to Motahari who squared it across the face of goal for Cheick Diabate who was left with a simple tap-in for his third goal of the 2021 AFC Champions League.

Just before the referee prepared to blow the half-time whistle, Al Ahrak found space inside the Esteghlal area and swept home Mohammad Musa’s low cross from the right flank to put the Qatari side in the lead again.

Coach Farhad Majidi’s men were determined to get back into the game and 10 minutes before the half time break, they had restored parity as Farshid Esmaeili supplied a defence-splitting pass to Motahari who squared it across the face of goal for Cheick Diabate who was left with a simple tap-in for his third goal of the 2021 AFC Champions League.

Just before the referee prepared to blow the half-time whistle, Al Ahrak found space inside the Esteghlal area and swept home Mohammad Musa’s low cross from the right flank to put the Qatari side in the lead again.

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