Shabab Al Ahli clinch place in Asian Champions League last 16

The Dubai club hold Iran's Foolad to a 1-1 draw to qualify as one of the best runner-up teams

Shabab Al Ahli forward Yahya Al Ghassani, right, celebrates scoring the equaliser against Iran's Foolad. AFP
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Shabab Al Ahli booked their place in the AFC Asian Champions League last 16 with a 1-1 draw against Iran's Foolad Khouzestan in Jeddah on Tuesday.

Substitute Yahya Al Ghassani fired Shabab Al Ahli's equaliser eight minutes from time, securing second spot in Group C behind Foolad, with the UAE club progressing as one of the three best runners-up in the West.

Foolad’s Brazilian star Shimba opened the scoring from the penalty spot on 71 minutes after Eid Khamis was penalised for a foul on Hamid Bouhamdan.

Al Ghassani, on as a first-half replacement for the injured Federico Cartabia, capitalised on an Aref Aghasi error to drive the ball home into the bottom left corner.

Al Jazira’s disappointing Group B campaign ended in a 2-0 defeat to Al Shabab of Saudi Arabia 2-0 in Riyadh.

After a goalless first half, John Mary broke Jazira’s resistance before Brazilian Paulinho doubled their tally as Shabab topped the group unbeaten on 16 points. Jazira finished bottom with only four points.

Sharjah meet bottom-club Istiklol of Tajikistan in their final Group A match at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh on Wednesday.

Sharjah are currently third on five points, five behind second-placed Al Rayyan and eight behind leaders and defending champions Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia and cannot qualify for the next round.

Regardless, Sharjah manager Cosmin Olaroiu wants his side to bounce after his side surrendered a two-goal advantage against Hilal in their last game.

“We know that this game has no bearing on the standings,” the Romanian said. “But we must perform at our best to get the win. I believe the team has not been at the level that they should.

“I hope this team learns from this experience, especially against Hilal and how they deal with pressure.”

Updated: April 27, 2022, 6:52 AM