Saudi Arabia’s Al Shabab moved to the verge of qualification for the knockout rounds of the Asian Champions League on Monday with a 3-0 win in Riyadh over Air Force Club from Iraq.
Nawaf Al Abid opened the scoring before Carlos Junior struck twice as Al Shabab jumped six points clear of India’s Mumbai City and Al Jazira from the United Arab Emirates with two games remaining in Group B of the continental championship.
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Only the winners in each of the five groups in west Asia will advance to the knockout rounds of the competition, where they will be joined the three best runners-up.
Al Abid put Al Shabab in front on the half hour mark when he swept the ball past goalkeeper Mohammed Saleh and nine minutes later Carlos Junior doubled the advantage when he smashed his shot home off the underside of the crossbar.
The Brazilian put the result beyond doubt 17 minutes from time as Al Shabab won for the third time in four matches, opening up a six-point lead after Al Jazira and Mumbai City drew 0-0 in the other game in the group.
In Group C, Shabab Al Ahli handed Qatar’s Al Gharafa an 8-2 thumping in Jeddah but the side from the UAE still trail leaders Foolad by two points after the Iranian club’s 1-0 win over Turkmenistan’s Ahal.
Thomas Olsen and Azizjon Ganiev both scored braces as Shabab Al Ahli ran rampant against Al Gharafa to win their first game of the group phase following three draws and move onto six points, one more than Al Gharafa.
South Africa’s Ayanda Patosi scored the only goal in Foolad’s clash with Ahal to keep the Iranian side on top of the standings with eight points.
Meanwhile, Al Duhail moved into pole position in Group D with a 3-0 victory over Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor through goals from Bassam Hisham, Michael Olunga and Almoez Ali.
The win means the Qatari side sit two points ahead of Al Taawon following the Saudi Arabian club’s 1-1 draw with Iran’s Sepahan.
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