AFC Champions League — Al Jazira 3 Al Gharafa 2


QNB Stars League side Al Gharafa went down fighting to the UAE’s Al Jazira 2-3 in their opening AFC Champions League Group A match at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

Brazilian striker Romarinho broke free on the wing and attempted to find team-mate Ali Mabkhout, but his cross found its way to the back of the net, tricking Al Gharafa goalkeeper Qassim Burhan in the 10th minute.

Al Gharafa struck back in the next minute through new recruit and Iranian striker Mehdi Taremi, who found space inside the Al Jazira box to fire home past Ali Khaseif.

The Emirati champions restored their lead in the 27th after Moroccan playmaker Mbark Boussoufa sent Mabkhout through on goal with a defence-splitting pass. The UAE international applied a calm finish past Burhan for their second goal.

The pick of the goals came in the 69th when Romarinho nodded for Ahmed Al Hashmi to strike on the half-volley from 40 yards out to make it 3-1.

Ahmed Alaeldin twisted and turned inside the Al Jazira box and unleashed a low drive that hit the upright and fell for Dutch superstar Wesley Sneijder to tap in Al Gharafa’s second goal two minutes later.

However, it was too late for Al Gharafa as Al Jazira collected full points.