OGUN, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA)-Despite having ten men for the whole of the match in Riyadh, Al-Nassr, a Saudi Pro League team, won a 0-0 draw against Iran’s Persepolis on Monday, guaranteeing their spot in the Asian Champions League knockout stages.
With one group match remaining with Ali Lajami being sent off in the 17th minute for a careless tackle on Milad Sarlak, Al-Nassr’s victory guaranteed them first place in Group E.
Persepolis might advance to the next phase with one of the three best runners-up slots available, provided they defeat Qatar’s Al-Duhail in their last group game on December 5. Only the group winners are certain to go to the last 16.
Even though Al-Duhail defeated Turkmenistan’s Istiklol 2-0, they have already lost in Doha thanks to a pair of Michael Olunga headers.
In Group B, Al-Sadd defeated Sharjah of the United Arab Emirates 2-0 to reclaim their spot in the round of sixteen thanks to goals from Gonzalo Plata and Baghdad Bounedjah.
Nine minutes into the match, Plato scored after Darwish Mohammed had parried Akram Afif’s opening attempt. An hour later, Bounedjah scored the second goal with a header from a Pedro Miguel cross from the right.
The win moves Al-Sadd onto seven points from five games and, while it keeps Bruno Pinheiro’s team in third place in the group, the former champions are three points behind new leaders Nasaf with one round remaining.
Nasaf went behind to a goal from Reziq Bani Hani but Mateus, Zafarmurod Abdurakhmatov and Marko Stanojevic struck in the second half to defeat Jordán’s Al-Faisaly 3-1 in Qarshi and go top of the standings.
Sharjah are second on eight points and could still advance with a win over Al-Faisaly on Dec. 4 while Al-Sadd will need to defeat Nasaf to have any chance of progressing.
In Group C, Iran’s Sepahan survived a pair of red cards to defeat Air Force Club from Iraq 1-0 in Tehran and stay two points adrift of leaders Al-Ittihad from Saudi Arabia.
Farshad Ahmadzadeh gave Sepahan a fourth-minute lead but Mohammad Hosseinnezhad’s sending off in the 43rd minute was followed by a red card for Hadi Mohammadi in the 90th minute.
Ten minutes of stoppage time were needed for Sepahan to hold on and secure the three points. They are currently ranked second after Al-Ittihad, who defeated AGMK of Uzbekistan 2-1 with two goals from Abderrazak Hamdallah in the first half.