Riyadh: Ali Mabkhout’s first-half penalty was the difference at King Fahd International Stadium as Al Jazira collected the three points in a 1-0 win over Mumbai City in Group B of the AFC Champions League™ 2022 on Thursday.
Coach Marcel Keizer’s men dominated the first half, registering 70 percent ball possession by the break, but struggled to create real scoring chances as Mumbai City sat deep, happy to concede play and look to hit on the counter.
Preview - Group A: Sharjah (UAE) v Al Rayyan SC (QAT)
Riyadh: UAE’s Sharjah and Qatar’s Al Rayyan are braced for a collision course when they meet in Group A of the AFC Champions League™ 2022 on Friday.
Both teams, who have never met before in the AFC Champions League, are level on points having picked up a win and a defeat with Sharjah sitting above Al Rayyan on goal difference.
Sharjah began their campaign with a 2-1 defeat against defending champions Al Hilal SFC of Saudi Arabia before a second half rally from Brazilian duo Ciao and Bernard saw the Emirati side defeat FC Istiklol 2-1.
Preview - Group E: Al Sadd SC (QAT) v Al Wehdat (JOR)
Dammam: Al Sadd SC defender Pedro Miguel insists he and his teammate Abdelkarim Hassan are determined to come back stronger when their side face Jordan’s Al Wehdat on Matchday Three of the AFC Champions League™ 2022 Group E on Friday.
The two full-backs were sent-off in Al Sadd’s opening game against FC Nasaf, a game their team still managed to walk out with a draw despite playing with nine men for nearly half an hour. Subsequently, Pedro and Hassan were suspended for the 2-1 defeat against Al Faisaly but are now in line to start in what could prove to be a do-or-die encounter against Al Wehdat.
Preview - Group E: FC Nasaf (UZB) v Al Faisaly FC (KSA)
Dammam: Al Faisaly head coach Marinos Ouzounidis has warned against complacency when his side take on FC Nasaf on Matchday Three of the AFC Champions League™ 2022 Group E on Friday.
The debutants impressed in their previous game, recovering from an early Hassan Al Haydos goal to defeat Al Sadd 2-1 thanks to Hicham Faik’s header 16 minutes into the game and Julio Tavares’ composed finish eight minutes after the restart.
Ouzounidis’ men find themselves in a top-of-the-table clash against Nasaf who are level with them on four points from two matches, with the Uzbeks having conceded one goal less to claim the top spot going into Friday’s game, and the Greek tactician warned that his team must not get carried away after their last result.
Preview - Group F: Lion City Sailors FC (SGP) v Urawa Red Diamonds (JPN)
Buriram: AFC Champions League™ debutants Lion City Sailors FC are set for a baptism of fire when they go up against two-time winners Urawa Red Diamonds in their opening AFC Champions League™ 2022 Group F match on Friday.
The Singapore Premier League champions, however, are unfazed by the challenge - especially as they have Kim Do-hoon, who led Ulsan Hyundai to their second AFC Champions League title in 2020 - at the helm and the 51-year-old is adamant his team will be challengers.
Preview - Group G: United City FC (PHI) v Jeonnam Dragons (KOR)
Pathum Thani: They have lost two of their biggest names, but head coach Jason Withe believes United City FC are better equipped to take on the continent’s best at AFC Champions League™ 2022, starting with Korean FA Cup winners Jeonnam Dragons on Friday.
The Filipino side are at this stage of the continent’s premier competition for the second time having made their debut last season in a Tashkent-based group which saw them suffer heavy defeats against Kawasaki Frontale and Daegu FC, but also claim a maiden win on the way to a third-place finish.
Many of the same faces, including Withe, are back on deck in Thailand for this year’s competition, but two of their biggest names from recent years are not among them, with ex-captain Stephan Schröck and prolific striker Bienvenido Marañón both departing the club since last year’s tournament.
Preview - Group I: Johor Darul Ta’zim (MAS) v Guangzhou FC (CHN)
Johor Bahru: Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) head coach Benjamin Mora is relishing the expectations weighing on the centralised host club ahead of their AFC Champions League™ 2022 Group I opener against two-time champions Guangzhou FC at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium on Friday.
Since debuting on Asia’s pinnacle stage in 2019, JDT have registered famous victories against two former champions – Kashima Antlers and Suwon Samsung Bluewings – both coming on home soil and Mora admits that the current conditions present the perfect opportunity for the Malaysian giants to create history by progressing past the group stage for the first time.