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Draw with Al Ain ends Sepahan’s hopes

Draw with Al Ain ends Sepahan’s hopes

AFC
Doha
Sepahan FC joined Al Ain FC in elimination from Group D of the 2020 AFC Champions League after the two sides played out a goalless draw at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium on Monday.
Sepahan had started their campaign with a 4-0 defeat of Al Ain at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium courtesy of Mohammed Mohebi, Kiros, Soroush Rafiei and Mohammad Tayyebi but couldn’t find a way past their opponents at the second time of asking.
Thirteen-time UAE champions Al Ain threatened early on, with Caio Canedo forcing a save from keeper Payam Niazmand after careful build up that included striker Kodjo Laba.
It took almost 40 minutes for Sepahan to get a first close chance, when Rasool Navidkia received the ball from teammate Mohammed Karimi and fired from range, but his ball was marginally high.
Early on in the second half, Tsukasa Shiotani played Canedo in with an intelligent through ball, and the Brazilian-born Emirati forward chipped the ball onto Laba Kodjo, who headed wide off the mark.
Al Ain almost conceded an own goal less than 10 minutes into the second half, when captain Ismail Ahmed botched a clearance attempt and deflected the ball towards his goal, but keeper Khaled Eissa managed to stop it, before punching the ball away from an onrushing Sepahan attacker.
A chance fell for the record UAE Pro League champions when a move started by Ahmed Barman was concluded when Bauyrzhan Islamkhan played teammate Laba in, and the latter attempted a cross that was deflected by Mohammed Mehdi into Niazmand’s arms.
Laba seemed to have opened the scoring when he rose to meet Islamkhan’s lofted free-kick into the area, but his headed effort was ruled out for an offside decision on teammate Caio.
The result leaves the Isfahan based side in third with four points, one ahead of Al Ain who trail the group.

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