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Group A: AGMK fight back to beat Shabab Al Ahli for historic AFC Champions League triumph

Riyadh: Two late strikes saw AGMK come back from a goal down to beat Shabab Al Ahli Dubai 2-1 to revive their hopes in Group A of the 2021 AFC Champions League on Wednesday.

Jovan Dokic drew AGMK level in the 88th minute after Ahmed Alhashmi had given Shabab Al Ahli a first half lead and Akramjov Kamilov completed a dream comeback with the winner in added time.

It was a magnificent performance from the Uzbekistan club as they sealed their first ever win in the group stage of the AFC Champions League, with victory taking them to four points.

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In a match where both sides desperately needed to win to reignite their hopes, AGMK made four changes with Dutch winger Alvin Fortes in the starting-11, while Shabab Al Ahli fielded five fresh players with Ahmed Alhashmi leading the attack. 

AGMK had their first sight on goal after a highly-intense opening 10 minutes at the King Fahd International Stadium, when Jovan Dokic’s excellent pass found an unmarked Zafar Polvonov in the box but his strike was saved by Shabab Al Ahli goalkeeper Majed Naseer.

Shabab Al Ahli - other than through several set-pieces - posed no threat to ‘keeper Sukhrobjon Sultanov in the opening minutes with the AGMK defence also maintaining high discipline.

However, after almost 29 minutes of prodding, a slip-up by the AGMK defence allowed Harib Suhail to chip the ball over the defenders and Ahmed Alhashmi rose highest to head home Shabab Al Ahli’s first goal of the 2021 AFC Champions League.

AGMK immediately changed gears and began pressing for the equaliser, coming close in the 40th minute when Fortes collected a long-range pass, dribbled past several Shabab Al Ahli defenders before unleashing a shot only to be denied by the upright.

AGMK pressed as soon as the second half got underway, coming close just two minutes into the restart when Sanjar Tursunov almost punished a poor clearance but his strike missed the target by mere inches.

AGMK had another half chance in the 64th minute, this time through a free-kick from just outside the box, but substitute Aleksandr Kasyan failed to get his header on target.

Their persistence, however, was rewarded in the 88th minute when Dokic slotted home from close range, before Kamilov beat goalkeeper Naser with his low strike three minutes later to seal an unbelievable comeback.

The two teams will square again on Matchday Four on Saturday.

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