Khatibi hails Tractor fortitude in thrilling AFC Champions League draw with Pakhtakor
Sharjah: Tractor FC head coach Rasoul Khatibi raved about the football on display as his side played out an electrifying 3-3 draw against Pakhtakor in the opening Group B match of the 2021 AFC Champions League on Wednesday.
All the goals were scored in the second half, with Ashkan Dejagah opening his side’s account from the spot on 53 minutes while teammate Mohammad Abbaszadeh doubled the tally three minutes later.
With 20 minutes left on the clock, Pakhtakor mounted a tremendous comeback with Dragan Ceran halving the deficit before Sharof Mukhitdinov’s thunderous strike six minutes later equalised for the Uzbek side. Pakhtakor went a goal up thanks to Hojimat Erkinov before Abbaszadeh converted a penalty for his second goal of the night to restore parity and round off the goal fest in Sharjah.
Group B: Pakhtakor, Tractor settle for thrilling draw in AFC Champions League opener
Sharjah: A fine display of attacking football saw Pakhtakor and Tractor FC play out a thrilling 3-3 draw at Sharjah Stadium in the opening match of the 2021 AFC Champions League Group B on Wednesday.
After a shy start to the game from both sides, it was Pakhtakor who took the initiative at the quarter-hour mark as Dragan Ceran advanced down the middle and supplied a fine through pass for Erin Derdiok who fired low from inside the box, but Tractor goalkeeper Mohammadreza Akhbari produced a quick save with his feet at the near post.
Group B: Sharjah edge Air Force Club to kick off AFC Champions League campaign on high note
Sharjah: Khalid Bawazir’s second-half strike was the difference at Sharjah Stadium as Sharjah FC emerged 1-0 winners over Iraq’s Air Force Club on Matchday One of the 2021 AFC Champions League Group B on Wednesday.
Sharjah saw the bulk of possession in a cagey opening 15 minutes, but it was Air Force Club who had the first chance of the game as Ibrahim Bayesh looked to test the goalkeeper from range, but his eighth minute effort was deflected off defender Abdullah Ghanim and collected by Adel Al Hosani.
The two sides exchanged chances midway through the half with striker Ayman Hussein powering through and taking a pop from a narrow angle, forcing a save out of Al Hosani and winger Caio responded in kind at the other end of the pitch as Air Force Club’s Fahad Taleb produced his first save of the night.
Preview: Al Duhail, Al Shorta seek early lift in AFC Champions League campaign
Jeddah: Al Duhail SC and Al Shorta will both be aiming for three points when they face off in their opening 2021 AFC Champions League Group C match at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah on Thursday.
With only the group winners assured of advancing into the Round of 16, both will have little margin for error in a pool that also includes Islamic Republic of Iran's Esteghlal FC and Saudi Arabia's Al Ahli Saudi FC.
Preview: Debutants Istiklol itching for dream AFC Champions League start against Shabab Al Ahli
Riyadh: FC Istiklol of Tajikistan will target opening their 2021 AFC Champions League Group A campaign with a win against Shabab Al Ahli Dubai of UAE on Thursday.
Coming into the tournament as champions of the Tajik League, debutants Istiklol will be eager for their first taste of AFC Champions League group stage football but in Shabab Al Ahli, they will face a team appearing in the continental showpiece for the eighth time, setting the stage for an enticing tie at the King Fahd International Stadium.
Preview: Rookies AGMK determined to test Al Hilal in AFC Champions League opener
Riyadh: Al Hilal SFC's eyes will be on the AFC Champions League trophy when they kick off their 2021 campaign against AGMK FC Thursday.
A COVID-19 outbreak in the squad forced Al Hilal to withdraw from last year's competition, which meant the Saudi Pro League champions could not defend the AFC Champions League title won in 2019.
The 2019 crown was added to the earlier Asian Club Championship titles Al Hilal had in their trophy cabinet and for Uzbekistan's AGMK, the tie at the Prince Faisal Bin Fahd Stadium promises to be tough test in their competition debut.