Al Wahda's Asian Champions League (ACL) campaign got off to the worst possible start when they were beaten 1-0 by the Iranian side Zobahan last night. A brilliant solo effort by Igor Castro, the Brazilian forward, proved a worthy match winner . Wahda, the Pro League leaders, held Zobahan at bay for an hour before Castro sliced through the Wahda defence and launched an unstoppable left-foot shot from 20 yards which gave Adel al Hosani, the goalkeeper, no chance.
Wahda had a great opportunity to equalise 10 minutes from time, but Saleh al Menhali, the substitute, fired wide with only the goalkeeper to beat. However, Josef Hickersberger's men will count themselves lucky for having kept the score down to just one goal. Zobahan dominated the game and made most of the attacking moves, yet they only won through Castro's individual brilliance. . Rivaldo, the former Brazil international, was on target as big-spending Bunyodkor began their campaign with a 3-0 win over Al Ittihad last night.
The Uzbek club, coached by the former Brazil World Cup-winning manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, got off to a comfortable start in Group B with a home victory against their Saudi Arabian opponents. The 37-year-old Rivaldo, who was part of the Brazil side that won the 2002 World Cup under Scolari, put Bunyodkor ahead in the fourth minute. Jasur Hasanov doubled the advantage in the 21st minute, and Denilson, the Brazilian top scorer in last season's Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi, completed the scoring in the 67th minute.
Japan's Kashima Antlers, South Korea's Seongnam Ilhwa and China's Beijing Guoan also won. * With agencies