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ACL2020 – How it stands: Group D

Doha: Former continental champions Al Ain FC and Al Sadd SC go head to head while Islamic Republic of Iran’s Sepahan FC take on Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr in Group D of the 2020 AFC Champions League on Tuesday.

The February rounds of games saw Al Sadd lead the group with four points, with away goals separating them from runners-up Al Nassr. Sepahan lurk close behind with three points while Al Ain are yet to get off the mark.

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Xavi’s Al Sadd needed an own goal from Al Nassr’s Abdulelah Al Amri to rescue a valuable 2-2 draw against the Saudi Arabian side on the opening day, but were in devastating form as they brushed aside Sepahan 3-0 on Matchday Two, with Hassan Al Haydos hitting a six-minute second half brace to add to Akram Afif’s opener.

Group D - MD1: Al Nassr 2-2 Al Sadd SC

Sepahan were the heroes of the group’s biggest upset, downing Al Ain 4-0, with the pick of the four coming as Brazilian forward Kiros pounced on a defensive error and lobbed keeper Khaled Eissa.

Group D - MD1: Al Ain FC 0-4 Sepahan FC

Life got marginally better for Al Ain in their second game against Al Nassr, but it was not enough for the competition’s inaugural winners to avoid another defeat.

With the score tied 1-1, striker Abderrazaq Hamdallah snatched the ball from Al Ain goalkeeper Khalid Eisa 10 minutes from the final whistle, to slot home the winner for the Saudis.

With a point separating Al Nassr and Sepahan, the two sides are eyeing maximum points from their two clashes to move as close as possible to qualification before the final two matchdays.

Al Sadd have reached the semi-finals in the past two editions of the competition and, having strengthened their ranks with Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla, will hope for a second straight win to cement their position at the top of the Group D table, while Al Ain cannot afford to drop more points.

Who will advance to the knockout stage from Group D? Poll ends at 22:00 (UTC +8) on September 15.

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