HONG KONG, April 16 (Reuters) – Iran’s Esteghlal handed Al Ahli from Saudi Arabia a 5-2 thrashing in Jeddah thanks to an impressive second-half showing, that included a late brace for Mehdi Ghayedi, during a group C match.
The club from Tehran was joined at the top of the early group standings by Qatar’s Al Duhail, who handed Al Shorta from Iraq a 2-0 defeat.
But an own goal by Sardor Rakhmanov under pressure from Bafetimbi Gomis 16 minutes later pulled Al Hilal level and Luciano Vietto put the Saudis in front from close range nine minutes before the break. Shaakhmedov then pounced after Al Maiouf had parried the ball into his path 20 minutes from time to earn AGMK a point in the group A clash.Al Hilal and AGMK are joined on one point following the first round of matches after another tournament debutant, Istiklol of Tajikistan, held Shabab Al Ahli from the United Arab Emirates to a 0-0 draw.
(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Sam Holmes)