Not good enough for Iranian teams at 2019 ACL

March 5, 2019 - 21:5

TEHRAN - Persepolis were held to a 1-1 draw against Pakhtakor of Uzbekistan, while Esteghlal suffered a 3-0 defeat against Al Duhail of Qatar in their 2019 AFC Champions League openers on Tuesday.

In the match held in Tehran’s Azadi Stadium, Marat Bikmaev stunned the crowd after opening the goal with a header in the 5th minute.

Last year’s finalists drew level in the 25th minute after Bashar Resan found Mario Budimir inside the box.

The Croatian advanced and drilled one into the bottom corner of Sanjar Kuvvatov’s net.

Pakhtakor defended resiliently and looked to strike on the counter, but there were no clear-cut chances on either side, and the two teams went into the break level.

In the second half, Resan, Kamal Kamyabinia and Siamak Nemati attempted their own luck but failed to find the goal.

Persepolis will travel to Doha for a repeat of last year’s semi-final against Al Sadd next week in Group D, while Pakhtakor’s Matchday Two encounter sees them host Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli.

In Doha, Esteghlal suffered a heavy 3-0 defeat against star-studded Al Duhail.

Medhi Benatia opened the scoring for the Qatari giants with a header at the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium.

Youssef El-Arabi made it 2-0 in the 73rd minute and substitute Ali Hassan Afif was on target in the injury time.

Esteghlal will host Al-Ain of the UAE next week and Al-Duhail travel to Riyadh to meet Al Hilal.

On Monday, another Iranian team Zob Ahan were held to a goalless draw against Al-Zawraa.

Reporting by Masoud Hossein

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