MiddleeastFootball - Syria international striker Firas Al-Khatib netted a dramatic equalizer, 6 minutes from time, to earn his side Al-Arabi a worthy 2-2 home draw against Iran outfits Sepahan in Tuesday’s Group B fixture of the Asian Champions’ League held in front of 7.000 fans her in Kuwait City.
This comes as a massive boost for Saudi giants Al-Ittihad who claimed a resounding 3-1 victory away to Uzbekistan representatives Neftchi, thanks mainly to their 1994 World Cup survivor Hamza Idriss Falatah.
Al-Ittihad, having rattled in their second successive win, are now topping Group B table standings with maximum 6 points from 2 matches, Sepahan trailing them by 2 points, with Al-Arabi coming third with just one point.
In the game held in Kuwait City, Iran Olympic team skipper Rasoul Khatibi fired Sepahan into a 1-0 lead after just 16 minutes from a crowded goalmouth, before the home side got into their strides in the second-half and level the scoreline through a neat volley from Malek Al-Qallaf, after 67 minutes.
When Mahmoud Karimi got the visitors back into the lead for the second time in the 79th minute, the Iranians were finally shocked to concede the equalizer 5 minutes later through a stupendous free-kick by Syrian Al-Khatib, denying their opponents all three points as both sides contended with one point each.
In Uzbekistan, it was a complete different story with visitors Al-Ittihad, who started their Asian Champions League campaign with a 2-0 solid home victory over Al-Arabi, looking very confident and commanding, edged their hosts Neftchi 2-1 at the reak before adding the third goal midway through the second-half, thanks to successive strikes from Brazilian forward Demba 7, Hamza Idriss Falatah 43 and international full-back Ridha Takar 63, to cancel out Sergeiy Lebedev’s lone consolation goal for the hosts in the 20th minute.
This has been Al-Ittihad’s 26th game in all competitions without defeat this season, their 21st victory compared to 5 draws.