AFC Champions League — Al Rayyan 2 Esteghlal 2


QNB Stars League side Al Rayyan played out a 2-2 draw with Iran’s Esteghlal in their AFC Champions League Group D opener at the Al Sadd Stadium on Monday.

Two-time AFC Player of the Year Server Djeparov found space inside the Al Rayyan box and sent a pacey cross that was deflected off Rodrigo Tabata and into his own net to hand Esteghlal the lead as early as the sixth minute.

Tabata made up for his lapse by helping Al Rayyan draw level in the 18th by assisting Moroccan striker Abderrazaq Hamdallah to score when the latter directed his header accurately to beat goalkeeper Seyed Hosseini.

The duo combined again 10 minutes later to turn the tie around. This time, Hamdallah was the creator as he cut inside from the left flank and laid off a pass for Tabata who applied a first-time finish from inside the box, leaving Hosseini helpless.

Al Rayyan were reduced to 10 men for the final 10 minutes after Tabata was dismissed for a late challenge on Pejman Montazeri.

Esteghlal took advantage of their numerical superiority to equalise two minutes from time as Ali Ghorbani headed home Omid Ebrahimi’s cross from the right wing.