Dubai: A buoyant Al Wahda will travel to face Qatar’s Al Rayyan next month, while Al Wasl will try to make amends against Iran’s Zobahan in the AFC Champions League group stages.
In Monday’s encounters featuring the two teams from the UAE, Al Wahda secured full points with a 4-1 drubbing of Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad, while Iraq’s Al Zawraa secured their first points of the competition with a 5-0 mauling of Al Wasl.
Al Wahda will now travel to face Al Rayyan on April 9, while Ittihad will welcome Lokomotiv to the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah on the same day for their Group B matches. And in Group A action, Al Zawraa will travel to Riyadh on April 8 to face winless Al Nassr, while Al Wasl will host Iran’s Zobahan the same day.
The highlight of the Al Wahda win was a brace from Brazilian Leonardo as his team ended a three-match winless run at the Al Nahyan Stadium. Leonardo, who was a constant nuisance for the Ittihad defence, scored in the 52nd minute and added a second deep into injury time for full points. Mohammad Al Menhali had an easy tap-in to give the hosts the lead in the 16th minute, and the experienced Esmail Mattar came off the bench to score from a free-kick in the 80th minute for Henk ten Cate’s men.
Veteran striker Nassir Al Shamrani got the lone goal for Al Ittihad with his 30th AFC Champions League goal in the 56th minute. The 2014 AFC Footballer of the Year has now scored with four different teams in the competition, having previously found the back of the net with Al Shabab, Al Hilal and Al Ain. All four teams from Group B have an identical three points with a win apiece.
Al Wasl will be looking to recover from their 5-0 loss to Al Zawraa. Backed by a capacity Karbala Sport City Stadium, it was a brace from Alaa Abbas that set the Iraqi club on their road to a huge win. Samal Saeed opened the scoring halfway through the opening period and Abbas found the goal on two successive occasions in the 36th and 51st minutes.
Playing with only 10 men following a straight red card for Fabio de Lima, Al Wasl suffered towards the end with goals from Mohannad Abdul Raheem (75th) and Hussain Al Jwayed (84th) sealing a fine win.