ACL 2020: Esteghlal of Iran held by Iraq’s Al Shorta

February 10, 2020 - 20:38

TEHRAN – Iranian football team Esteghlal were held to a 1-1 draw by Iraq’s Al Shorta in Group A of the 2020 AFC Champions League on Monday.

The home team went into the game at Franso Hariri Stadium in Erbil dreaming of becoming the first-ever Iraqi side to defeat an Iranian team in the AFC Champions League after seven previous meetings between teams from the two neighboring nations.

Ali Karimi supplied a perfectly-weighted pass for onrushing left-back Milad Zakipour who drilled a cross targeting Amir Arsalan Motahari at the far post. Before the ball could reach Esteghlal’s number 72, defender Kadhim attempted a sliding clearance, but ended up sending the ball into the net to gift the visitors their opening goal in the 22nd minute.

After the break, Al Shorta returned to the pitch with renewed momentum, and within 50 seconds of the restart they had penetrated the Esteghlal defense, forcing defender Shahin Taherkhani to bring Ali Yousif down inside the box.

Iraqi international centre-back Ali Fayez stepped up to take the resulting penalty kick and powered it past goalkeeper Hossein Hosseini to equalize for Al Shorta in the 48th minute.

Al Shorta will look to add to their first point when they welcome UAE’s Al Wahda to the Franso Hariri Stadium next week, while Esteghlal travel to Kuwait to face Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli on Matchday Two.

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