Al Duhail edge UAE’s Al Wahda in Abu Dhabi
Mehdi Taremi scored a brace and had a hand in another goal as Al Gharafa defeated Tractorsazi of Iran 3-0 in their second group match of the AFC Champions League on Monday.
The QNB Stars League club claimed their first three points in Group A after last week's defeat at Al Jazira but must thank goalkeeper Yousef Hassan for keeping a clean sheet.
The home team signalled their intention from the blast of the referee's whistle at Thani Bin Jassim Stadium.
Iranian striker Taremi broke the deadlock to give Gharafa the lead in the eleventh minute with a glancing header from winger Othman Alawi's through ball. Gharafa should have doubled their lead minutes later from Alawi's effort but for the woodwork.
The impressive Taremi was a thorn in the flesh in the back four of the opponent's defence as his huge build troubled the Tractorsazi defence. He capitalised on their poor communication to dispossess a defender before squaring the ball for Wesley Sneijder who was on course for a tap in but Sime Gregov guided the ball into his net in the 21st minute.
Despite the two goal-deficit, the Iranians looked more dangerous going forward and were awarded a penalty when Venezuelan defender Rubert Quijada was adjudged to have held Mohammed Naderi inside the box.
Just five minutes before the break, Mehdi Mehdipour had a chance to cut the lead from the penalty spot but goalkeeper Yousef guessed right by diving to his right to stop the kick in the 40th minute.
On resumption, the Iranians dominated the game with their good passing and positional play. The half's first opportunity came for Mehdi Mehdipour but his effort was blocked Yousef.
The Gharafa custodian was once again called on duty to stop Iranpourian, a second half substitute. The 32-year-old defender however was unlucky to concede a penalty after he fouled Taremi in the 75th minute. The striker missed the chance to increase his team's lead from the penalty spot but atoned for the miss with a goal in added time.
In the other match of the day, Youssef El Arabi scored a brace as Al Duhail came from behind to edge Al Wahda 3-2 in Group B of the AFC Champions League match in Abu Dhabi.
Tagliabue gave the UAE club the opening lead in the fourth minute through a spot kick but their lead was overturned in the second half. Duhail's top striker El Arabi equalised in the 57th minute before Karim Bouadiaf gave Belmadi's side the lead in the 75th minute.
Duhail exerted their dominance in the 80th minute when El Arabi made it 3-1 but against the run of play the Qatari team conceded a dubious penalty in added time.
Murad Batna cut the lead converting from the penalty spot.
Al Gharafa 3 (Mehdi Taremi 11’, 90+4; Sime Gregov 21 (OG)) bt T’sazi Tabriz 0
Al Duhail 3 (Youssef El-Arabi 57’, 80’; Karim Boudiaf 75’) bt Al Wahda (UAE) 2 (Sebastian Tagliabue 4’, Mourad Batna 90+3’)