TEHRAN (Dispatches) – UAE’s Al Ain fought back to earn a late 1-1 draw against Iran’s Esteghlal , and Qatar's Al Sadd win Iran's Persepolis 1-0 in their Group D clash on Matchday of the 2019 AFC Champions League on Tuesday at Azadi Stadium.
Al Ain started the second half on the front foot, and the woodwork played its part in keeping the game goalless.
Just two minutes after the restart, Mohammed Khalfan exchanged a one-two with Amer Abdulrahman from the corner and the former advanced deep into the penalty box before hitting the crossbar with a left-footed effort.
Farshid Esmaeili showed what he is capable of, going on a slaloming run from the right to skip past three defenders and try to finish from a narrow angle, but Khaled Eisa made an athletic save at the near post to tip it behind for the corner.
The 53rd minute set-piece would finally break the deadlock. Patosi’s out-swinging cross was nodded home by Bagheri to the joy of the home fans as Esteghlal took the lead.
The host controlled the rhythm of play for the bulk of the second half and could have added a second goal in the 76th minute.
Al Ain piled the pressure in the final 10 minutes in pursuit of the equalizer which it got in the 87th minute through Tsukasa Shiotani.
Yaslam’s cross from a free-kick was not dealt with properly by the Iranian defense and Shiotani pounced on the loose ball to fire home with his left foot from inside the box.
Both teams head to Doha for Matchday Three. Esteghlal will face Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal on April 8, while Al Ain play Al Duhail on the same day.
And also, Baghdad Bounedjah netted a dramatic late winner to give Qatar's Al Sadd a 1-0 win over Iran's Persepolis.
Both sides were looking for their first win of the competition, and that attacking intent resulted in end-to-end action early on. Persepolis was unlucky not to score in the ninth minute after somehow failing to tap the ball in during a goalmouth scramble.
Al Sadd's Akram Afif then saw his curling effort take a deflection and miss the goal by inches. Over at the other end, Al Sadd goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb produced a stunning reflex save to deny Ahmed Noorollahi.
In the 35th minute, Bounedjah had a give-and-go with Afif but failed to direct his header away from the hands of Persepolis custodian Alireza Beiranvand. Ali Alipour then stole the ball off Pedro Miguel and had a go at goal but saw his shot go wide.
At the stroke of half-time, Al Sadd had the ball in the net after Bounedjah nodded in from close range but the assistant referee ruled the effort out for offside.
The host upped the tempo as the second half kicked off, producing a flurry of chances to keep Beiranvand busy. The Iranian international came up with two excellent saves to keep out Bounedjah in the 50th and 58th minutes.
In the 78th minute, right after Al Sadd had a penalty appeal waved away, Persepolis broke away on the counter which ended in Al Sheeb keeping out Bashar Resan's shot.
In the 88th minute, Alipour could score a winner for Persepolis but missed his excellent chance.
Bounedjah struck the winner for Al Sadd in the stoppage time after nodding in Hassan's headed pass across the goalmouth.
Al Sadd will now travel to Tashkent to face Pakhtakor on Matchday Three while Persepolis will lock horns with Al Ahli in Dubai.