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Dubai: Makhete Diop’s 89th minute header secured all three points for United Arab Emirates powehourse Al Ahli as the 2015 AFC Champions League finalists handed Esteghlal from the Islamic Republic of Iran an agonising 2-1 defeat in their opening meeting in Group A of the 2017 campaign on Monday.

Omid Ebrahimi looked to have earned Alireza Mansourian’s side a share of the points with a fine volley 16 minutes from time after Al Ahli had taken the lead just seconds before the end of the first half with a close range goal from Diop.

But the Senegalese striker rose highest to meet Everton Ribeiro’s cross from the left as the game entered the dying moments to earn Cosmin Olaroiu’s side a deserved win.