AFC - Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr beat Islamic Republic of Iran's Tractor FC 1-0 in the 2021 AFC Champions League Round of 16 to continue their charge towards a first title in the competition.
The Saudi Pro League side join fellow Riyadh side Al Hilal SFC and the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Persepolis FC in the next round, with one of two Emirati sides Sharjah SC and Al Wahda FSCC to round off the West Zone’s quarter-finalists.
Vincent Aboubakar missed the first big chance of the game inside 10 minutes, when Uzbek winger Jaloliddin Masharipov went down on the left flank, with teammate Abdulfattah Asiri picking the loose ball up and playing the Cameroonian forward in, only for him to spurn his chance from inside the area.
Less than two minutes later, Aboubakar made amends and opened the scoring for the Riyadh-based side as well as his personal account in Asian football with a beautifully constructed counter-attack, which was concluded by a threaded pass from Anderson Talisca to the former FC Porto man who expertly chipped the keeper from close range to make it 1-0.
Talisca came close 10 minutes from the break, when he received a ball close to the area and attempted a volley, but his timid shot was collected by goalkeeper Mohammed Reza Akhbari.
Asiri missed what could have gone down as one of the best goals of the competition when Masharipov cut inside from the left, played a one-two before teeing him up, with Asiri dancing through the defence with the ball at his feet, eventually going inside the six-yard box and attempting a shot from a tight angle which Akhbari just about got a hand to to save.
With 10 minutes left on the clock, Al Nassr broke forward in numbers with Talisca and Aboubakar acting as the focal points moving upfield, the attack eventually came to a conclusion when the former Guangzhou FC forward skied his shot.
Tractor’s first shot on target came 83 minutes into the game, when Saman Narimanjahan took a shot from inside the box but Waleed Ali, largely untested throughout the game, was alert and managed to save. Akbar Imani also had a chance later on, with Ali on hand once more.