Al-Ittihad beats Esteqlal 3-2

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IRNA -The Saudi soccer team of Al-Ittihad won the first-leg match of 
Asian Clubs Championships against visitor Esteqlal of Tehran 3-2 in 
Emir Abdullah al-Faisal Stadium, Jeddah, Friday.
In the early minutes of the game, Hassan al-Yami and Sergio Ricardo 
due to their solo efforts put the blue-clad players of Tehran under great pressure but the superb performance of Esteqlal right winger Mohammad Navazi and self-confidence of the team caused the Iranian squad to possess the ball and field and penetrate into the Saudis' defense line.
During a nice game in the first half, the match ended in a 2-2 draw. 
Alireza Nikbakht-Vahedi put Esteqlal ahead in the 16th minute after he slotted home a corner played by his teammate Sirous Dinmohammadi. 
The blues could score two more goals after the opener but the striker Ahmad Mo'menzadeh missed both opportunities, and it was the home team, Al-Ittihad, that fought back and made it 2-1 in just two minutes. 
The match was leveled after Nikbakht-Vahedi's own goal in the 34th 
minute and one minute later Muhamad Nur al-Hasawi's spectacular shot kissed the net. 
But two minutes from the break, Esteqlal Captain Mahmoud Fekri's 
header tied the match 2-2 once again.
In the second half, Al-Ittihad scored the winner in the 71st minute 
following a melee in the defense line of Esteqlal.
The blues' goalkeeper Hadi Tabatabaei denied the Saudis in several attacks in the second half.The second-leg match will be held on the pitch of Azadi Stadium, Tehran, Friday.

Alireza Nikbakht-Vahedi


Mahmoud Fekri

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