06 apr 12:32
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ACL MD4 - GROUP B: ZOBAHAN 5-2 BUNYODKOR

Tags :  BunyodkorZobahan
Esfahan: Zobahan surged to the top of Group B of the 2016 AFC Champions League on Tuesday evening with a comprehensive 5-2 win over Uzbekistan’s Bunyodkor at Foolad Shahr Stadium.

First half goals from Danial Esmaeilifar and Vahid Mohammadzadeh sent Yahya Golmohammadi’s side on their way to victory before further goals from Mahdi Rajabzadeh and Kaveh Rezaei in the second half sealed all three points.

Minori Sato claimed Bunyodkor’s first 13 minutes from time while Zobahan’s Morteza Tabrizi and Shakhzodbek Murmatov of Bunyodkor found the back of the net in the dying minutes.

“We started the match very well, with plenty of motivation,” said Golmohammadi. “We were focused and scored early and continued the game without stress. In total, we saw a good game from Zobahan players.

“Bunyodkor are a good team but the early goal affected them mentally and psychologically. I thank my players for their concentration and energetic display.”

The win – coupled with Al Nassr’s 4-0 loss at the hands of Lekhwiya in Doha – moves Zobahan three points clear at the top of Group B with just two games remaining in the group stages. Bunyodkor, meanwhile, drop to the bottom of the standings and remain on two points.

Zobahan pressed from the opening whistle and, with just three minutes on the clock, Golmohammadi’s side had taken the lead.

Ghasem Hadadifar’s slaloming run across the face of goal pulled the Bunyodkor defence out of position before his pass found Esmaeilifar, who shot from just inside the area, giving goalkeeper Murotjon Zukhurov little chance.

Just before the half hour mark Rezaei could have doubled his side’s lead only for his downward header to be gathered at the second attempt by Zukhurov, but by the 34th minute the home side had added to their tally.

Mahdi Mahdipour’s corner from the Zobahan right swung into the six-yard box and, with the visitors’ defence pulled towards the near post, Mohammadzadeh was left with the time and space to head comfortably to Zukhurov’s left and into the corner.

The home side kept up the pressure when play resumed in the second half and, with just five minutes gone in the second period, the Iranians added to their tally as Rezaei flew down the left before cutting the ball back to captain Rajabzadeh, who was left to score from close range into the unguarded net.

And with 69 minutes on the clock, Rezaei claimed his second of the game and put the result beyond any doubt when he raced in on goal before slotting his shot under Zukhurov.

Bunyodkor pulled one back with 13 minutes remaining when Chaker Zouaghi’s shot thumped against the crossbar, only for Japanese forward Sato to head in from close range.

Tabrizi restored Zobahan’s cushion with a fine finish with less than two minutes remaining, only for Murmatov to net with a close range header seconds later in a frantic finish to the game.

“We have to forget tonight’s result as soon as possible,” said Bunyodkor coach Sergey Lushchan. “It was not a good result for us and we lost control of the match, it was not clear what went wrong.

“This is football and nothing is predictable and there’s no guarantee for winning a game. We have to try to improve in our next games. As I said we have to forget this defeat quickly.

“We heard the result of the other match that Lekhwiya has defeated Al Nassr. So on paper we still have a chance and if we win our next two games we can qualify.”

Rating: -2   

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