Group A: Al Zawraa Club (IRQ) 5-0 Al Wasl FC (UAE)
Karbala: Alaa Abbas bagged a brace as Al Zawraa marked the first-ever AFC Champions League match to be played in Iraq with a thumping 5-0 victory over Al Wasl in matchday two of Group A on Monday.
Backed by a capacity crowd at Karbala Sport City Stadium, Al Zawraa started on the front foot as Abbas tested Al Wasl goalkeeper Humaid Abdulla from range 17 minutes in, but the Emirati goalkeeper tipped the shot behind for a corner.
The home crowd were sent into raptures as Al Zawraa skipper Samal Saeed fired home the opening goal halfway through the opening period.
The defender capitalised on a poor headed clearance by Abdulla Jassim to take the ball on the half-volley with his left, leaving the goalkeeper watching as his thunderous strike nestled into the back of the net.
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Abbas’ second attempt from distance found its way to the bottom corner of Al Wasl’s goal in the 36th minute. The forward received Mustafa Mohammed’s pass on the left, cut inside and fired from 30 yards out to double Al Zawraa’s lead.
Al Wasl’s woes were compounded three minutes later as their talisman and captain Fabio de Lima was shown the red card following a heavy challenge on Mohammed.
The second half only brought more misery for the Emirati side as Hakeem Shaker’s men seized their numerical advantage and delivered a third blow to their opponents six minutes after the restart.
Ahmed Jalal broke free down the left wing following a swift counter attack and squared for Abbas who was left with a simple finish to register his second of the night.
Mohanad Abdulraheem made it 4-0 15 minutes before the final whistle, adding Al Zawraa’s fourth of the night with a composed first-touch finish after Jalal had advanced behind Al Wasl’s right-back and squared for him.
Jalal’s trickery continued to cause the Emirati all kinds of trouble, and the winger was again at it as he dribbled past three defenders down the left. Eventually it would take a mistimed tackle from Ali Salmin to stop him, but at the cost of a penalty kick.
Hussein Al Jwayed stepped up to convert from the spot for Al Zawraa’s fifth of the evening in the 84th minute.
With four points in their pockets already, Al Zawraa travel to Riyadh on April 8 to face Al Nassr, while Al return home for the Matchday Three encounter against Zobahan on the same day.
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