Group B: PFC Lokomotiv (UZB) 1-1 Al Ittihad (KSA)
Tashkent: 10-man PFC Lokomotiv held on for a 1-1 draw against Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad at Lokomotiv Stadium on Matchday Four of the 2019 AFC Champions League Group B on Monday.
Al Ittihad had won their previous encounter against Lokomotiv on Matchday Three thanks to an added-time penalty from Fahad Al Muwallad.
The winger was again the dangerman for the Saudi side. His 10th-minute corner kick found Brazilian forward Romarinho in plenty of space inside the Lokomotiv box, and the former Al Jazira striker converted the opener.
Lokomotiv looked to respond through Temurkhuja Abdukholikov, whose curling effort from the edge of the box went just over the crossbar three minutes after.
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Al Muwallad was preparing to celebrate his fifth goal of the campaign midway through the first half.
The number 8 was sent through on goal by a defence-splitting Abdulaziz Al Bishi pass, but Al Muwallad’s last touch let him down and his shot was calmly caught by goalkeeper Javohir Ilyosov.
The home crowd at Lokomotiv Stadium erupted nine minutes before the break as Abdukholikov levelled the tie.
The 27-year-old lost his marker and got on the end of a Jamshid Iskanderov long ball from a free-kick to stab home the equaliser and send the two sides into the dressing rooms on level terms.
Al Ittihad dominated possession throughout the second half, but a combination of some heroic Lokomotiv defending and wastefulness in front of goal saw them miss as many as four clear-cut chances in the second 45 minutes.
Lokomotiv were dealt a blow when their captain Islom Tukhtakhujaev was shown a straight red card 15 minutes from time.
A Carlos Villanueva through pass allowed Al Muwallad to break free and go one-on-one with the Lokomotiv goalkeeper and Tukhtakhujaev intervened to bring him down before he entered the box, earning his marching orders in the process.
Villanueva nearly delivered a goal from the resulting free-kick, which he curled into the top corner, but Ilyosov made a flying save to tip the ball behind for a corner.
Substitute Husniddin Gafurov thought he had won the tie at the death for Lokomotiv when his free-kick was deflected off the wall and into the centre of the goal, but Fawaz Al Qarni managed to make the save with his feet to deny Lokomotiv the three points.
The result means the gap between the two teams stays at three points, with Al Ittihad moving up to the top of Group B temporarily with seven points, and Lokomotiv collecting their fourth point of the competition.
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