West Asia Domestic Wrap: Al Nassr back on top, Shabab Al-Ahli march on
Beirut: Reigning champions Al Nassr returned to the top of the Saudi Pro League standings while Shabab Al-Ahli continued their impressive run of results after registering their fourth consecutive victory to remain on top in the UAE.
Al Duhail continued their unbeaten run this season to widen the gap at the top of the Qatar Stars League while Al Qadsia strengthened their grip on first position in Kuwait. Join the-AFC.com as we take a look at the domestic action in West Asia.
Sharjah: Islamic Republic of Iran’s Shahr Khodro FC left it late to defeat Bahrain’s Riffa 2-1 in the 2020 AFC Champions League Preliminary Round 2 on Saturday.
Mohammad Reza Khalatbari’s opener for the Iranians was cancelled out by a Saleh Taher equaliser for Riffa in the first half. Shahr Khodro had to wait until late into the second period for Amin Ghaseminejad to strike the winner.
The victory books a date with Qatar’s Al Sailiya, with an AFC Champions League group stage debut on the cards for Shahr Khodro should they manage a win on Tuesday.
Dubai: Islamic Republic of Iran’s Esteghlal FC moved to within 90 minutes of the group stage, while Kuwait SC’s campaign came to an abrupt end as the Tehran giants claimed a 3-0 AFC Champions League Preliminary Stage 2 win at Rashid Stadum on Saturday.
Towering Malian forward Cheick Diabaté scored a brace before Vorya Ghafouri added a superb third goal just before the hour mark to help Farhad Maijidi’s side cruise to a comprehensive win over the Kuwaiti Premier League champions.
Estgehlal will now face Qatari outfit Al Rayyan for a place in the group stage alongside Iraq’s Al Shorta, Al Wahda of the United Arab Emirates and another qualifier.
Preliminary Stage 2: FC Bunyodkor (UZB) 4-1 Al Zawraa Club (IRQ)
Tashkent: Uzbekistan’s FC Bunyodkor moved a step closer to the 2020 AFC Champions League group stage with a convincing 4-1 win over Al Zawraa Club of Iraq in Preliminary Round 2 on Wednesday.
Murod Khalmukhamedov put the hosts ahead with an early penalty before Humoyun Murtozaev scored a second half brace, with Boburbek Farkhadov also finding the net in a dominant display from Vadim Abramov’s side.
Bunyodkor’s win sets up an away clash with Emirati outfit Al Ain next Tuesday, with the Tashkent club to return to the group stage for the first time since 2017 with another victory.