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Group B: Al Ittihad (KSA) 3-2 PFC Lokomotiv (UZB)


Jeddah: Fahad Al Muwallad's stoppage time penalty ensured Al Ittihad a hard-fought 3-2 win over PFC Lokomotiv on Matchday Three of the 2019 AFC Champions League Group B on Tuesday.

Both teams had lost their previous matches in the group, with Al Ittihad falling to a 4-1 defeat against Al Wahda and Lokomotiv losing 2-1 to Al Rayyan.

The first opportunity of the game came Lokomotiv’s way after 10 minutes as Oleg Zoteev whipped a cross for Jovan Djokic who headed it wide.

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Zoteev was again the dangerman from the left, dribbling his way through the Saudi defence into the byline before pulling one back for Husniddin Gafurov, who fluffed his lines and sent the ball high and wide from six yards out.

Djokic came agonisingly close to sending Lokomotiv into the dressing room in front as he volleyed Igor Jelic’s cross, but the Serbian’s shot missed the target by inches.

The hosts finally had their first sight on goal in the 26th minute through Khalid Al Samiri, who unleashed a powerful drive from all of 35 yards, forcing goalkeeper Javohir Ilyosov into a flying save.

After a goalless first-half, Al Ittihad came from the dressing room a different side, and within two minutes they had taken the lead.

Abdulaziz Al Bishi was brought down by Zootev as he entered the penalty box and the referee pointed to the spot, awarding the hosts a penalty kick.

Veteran Nasser Al Shamrani stepped up and drilled in his 31st AFC Champions League goal. The former Saudi international is now just six goals behind all-time top scorer Lee Dong-gook and five behind second-placed Dejan Damjanovic.

Jose Luis Sierra’s men inflicted more damage on their visitors three minutes later.

Pacey forward Fahad Al Muwallad plucked the ball off the last Lokomotiv defender at the halfway line as the Uzbek side throw men forward.

Al Muwallad had all the time to run at the goalkeeper, round him and slot home Al Ittihad’s second of the night in the 50th minute.

Coach Andrey Fedorov brought on Jamshid Iskanderov to replace Diyorjon Turapov 20 minutes from time. The Lokomotiv boss was immediately rewarded with a goal as the Number 8 found the back of the net with his first touch.

Iskanderov found space inside the box and got on the end of Zootev’s cross from the left, hitting it first-time into the bottom corner to half the deficit.

Substitutes were again the key word for Lokomotiv. Filip Rajevac needed eight minutes after his introduction in the 74th minute to head home the equaliser following Arslanmurat Amanov's in-swinging cross from the left.

There was still time for further changes at King Abdullah Sport City Stadium as Al Ittihad substitute Romarinho was fouled inside the box in the dying minutes and the Saudi side were given a second penalty.

With Al Shamrani having been subbed off, it was Al Muwallad on spot-kick duty and the forward powered his shot from the spot into the roof of the net to earn Al Ittihad a valuable 3-2 win.

The result keeps Al Ittihad in second place on six points, an inferior head-to-head record keeping them behind Al Wahda, while Lokomotiv stay bottom of the group with three points. The two teams face-off again in Tashkent on April 22.

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