Note: the results below focus on the two matches with special QNet activation i.e. the QNet Players Escorts Programme during the match between Al Hilal and Sepahan on 01 March and the QNet-ACL Goal of the Season 2011 Award Ceremony before the match between Al Ain and FC Seoul on 02 March. All other match results can be viewed on http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-champions-league
Tuesday, 01 March 2011
Al Hilal 1-2 Sepahan
Riyadh: Sepahan stunned Saudi giants Al Hilal on Tuesday as the Iranians claimed a 2-1 victory in their opening AFC Champions League encounter at King Fahd International Stadium.
After a goalless first half, it was the visitors who went ahead when Ibrahima Toure headed home in 51st minute before Sepahan added a second just nine minutes later when Al Hilal keeper Abdullah Alsdairy managed to turn Fabio Januario’s corner into his own net.
It seemed Sepahan were coasting to victory but Christian Wilhelmsson struck in stoppage time to ensure a nervy few minutes for Farhad Kazemi’s side.
The win means Sepahan move top of Group A with three points, two ahead of Al Jazira and Al Gharafa who played out a goalless draw in Abu Dhabi.
Chances were at a premium through much of the early stages of the first half and Wilhelmsson summed up the quality of the few opportunities that were created when his speculative 25th minute effort ballooned off a defender and was comfortably held by keeper Mahdi Rahmati.
The first real opportunity arrived in the 34th minute when a long ball was played into the area and Nawaf Alabid raced between two defenders and rose to meet the cross but could only direct his header at the Sepahan keeper.
But six minutes into the second half, it was Sepahan who got their noses in front when a long throw bounced through the area and found Toure unmarked at the far post and the Senegalese striker directed a header against the edge of the woodwork and into the back of the net.
Al Hilal looked to offer a quick response and a fine move by Wilhelmsson deserved more as the Swedish winger danced his way past three defenders before drilling a well-struck effort that was too close to Rahmati.
But instead it was Sepahan who went further ahead just before the hour when a corner by Januario was diverted into his own net by Al Hilal keeper Alsdairy.
That goal pretty much wrapped up the points for the visitors but Al Hilal continued to try and press for a goal as Mohammad Salem Al Qarni just failed to get his foot to a Wilhelmsson cross when well-placed inside the area.
But it was Sepahan who came closest to scoring again 10 minutes before the end when Milorad Janjus swept a low shot from just inside the area that Alsdairy did well to get a hand to and push onto the post.
The visitors took their foot off the pedal after that, seemingly content with their margin of victory.
However, Al Hilal pulled one back through Wilhelmsson from the left of the area with a well-hit effort in stoppage time and though the hosts pressed after that, Sepahan held on for the win.
Wednesday, 02 March 2011
Al Ain 0-1 FC Seoul
Al Ain: Hosts Al Ain missed a 66th-minute penalty as they went down to a solitary goal from Korea Republic champions FC Seoul in their opening AFC Champions League Group F match at the Tahnoun Bin Mohammad Stadium on Wednesday.
After Montenegrin Dejan Damjanovic had given Seoul the lead in the 24th minute, Al Ain’s Brazilian striker Elias (Elias Ribeiro de Oliveira) could not convert from the spot to see the inaugural ACL champions continue their poor form of recent months.
In a match that did not rise to any great level, Seoul looked sharper in attack and fully deserved the three points.
The visitors missed a good chance in the 10th minute when striker Mauricio Molina was left unmarked inside the box but the Colombian mis-hit his volley and let Al Ain off the hook.
Seconds later it was Seoul’s turn to breathe a sigh of relief when Omar Abdulrahman took advantage of a defensive lapse inside the box to bear down on goal but the young UAE star shot into the side netting with only keeper Kim Young-dae to beat.
The Seoul midfield, led by Uzbekistan skipper Server Djeparov and Brazilian Adilson (Adilson dos Santos), combined well to ensure the hosts were under not insignificant pressure.
Seoul soon provided their small band of enthusiastic supporters more joy when Damjanovic struck in the 24th minute. The striker, who had a brief spell in Saudi Arabia on loan with Al Ahl, did excellently to cushion a long pass and then fire home from close range and ensure the Koreans went in at the break a goal to the good.
In the second half, Djeparov came close twice to extending his side’s lead. First in the 53rd minute, he did well to shoot on the turn but Al Ain keeper Dawoud Sulaiman dived to push the ball away.
UAE national team star Ali Al Wehaibi, who had a good game, was pushed by Seoul skipper Kim Dong-jin and the referee pointed to the spot.
Elias took his time and aimed low to the right of Korean keeper Kim but he pulled off a fine save to ensure Al Ain’s misery continued as FC Seoul were able to close out the game and get their 2011 AFC Champions League campaign off to a winning start.