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Group B: Sharjah out in front after emphatic AFC Champions League win over Pakhtakor


Sharjah: Sharjah FC took a massive step towards Round-of-16 qualification with a 4-1 win against Pakhtakor in Group B of the 2021 AFC Champions League on Tuesday.

The two sides had played out two goalless draws in the previous round of games, with Sharjah successfully consolidating their place at the top of the group with the massive win leaving Pakhtakor bottom of the table.

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It took precisely 10 minutes from kick-off for the opening goal to arrive, after Caio won a free-kick and executed it to perfection, as Pakhtakor goalkeeper Sanjar Kuvvatov saved but couldn’t hold on to the ball and Khalid Bawazir (pictured below) made no mistake tapping the ball into the net for his second goal of the tournament.

Sardor Rashidov, received an excellent cross from the right wing while marauding inside the area and took a shot that was saved but not held by Adel Al Hosani, to which a lurking Dragan Ceran reacted by smashing into the empty net to give Pakhtakor the equaliser just 11 minutes after the Sharjah goal.

Sharjah swiftly scored their second in exquisite fashion, with Caio dribbling and dancing through the Pakhtakor lines from the middle of the pitch. With Salem Saleh supporting to his left, the Brazilian played a low, pinpoint cross to the Emirati who tapped in.

The ever-so-lively Caio added the hosts’ third goal less than 20 minutes into the second half, after receiving the ball from Bawazir, he masterfully dribbled into the area, cutting inside to get his powerful right foot onto the shot that Kuvvatov simply couldn’t get down to fast enough.

Youngster Luan Pereira added a fourth just a few minutes later, after taking an ambitious shot from outside the area that flew into the net after taking a deflection off of Abrorbek Ismoilov, leaving Kuvvatov pinned down.

The result sees Sharjah take control of the group with seven points to their name ahead of their reverse match against Pakhtakor in three days’ time, while Pakhtakor with two will need a result on Matchday Four to keep their hopes alive.

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