Al Jazira hang tough to remain in ACL hunt after Romarinho earns 1-1 draw at Tractor Sazi

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Romarinho celebrates his opening goal in a 1-1 draw for Al Jazira at Tractor Sazi in the 2018 AFC Champions League.

A depleted Al Jazira were denied a valuable victory in their quest to escape Group A from the 2018 AFC Champions League when Farzad Hatami nodded in Tractor Sazi’s first goal to secure a 1-1 draw.

The Pride of Abu Dhabi travelled to Tabriz for the return fixture from last week’s goalless stalemate without a number of injured and suspended stars, this list being headlined by UAE strikers Ali Mabkhout and Ahmed Al Attas. Brazilian forward Romarinho led the line in their absence and he plundered the 44th-minute opener, against the run of play.

The summer addition from Qatar’s El Jaish latched onto a long ball from experienced defender Musallem Fayez and lashed in a second goal in four continental games.

Tuesday’s hosts at Yadegar-e Emam Stadium were desperate to secure the victory required to boost waning hopes of progression to the round of 16. After several chances went begging, towering striker Hatami nodded in an inviting cross from Ehsan Pahlevan – who had earlier shot just wide of the far post when clear through.

Tractor bombarded the visitor’s goal in the final minutes, UAE No1 Ali Khaseif performing redoubtably to keep them out.

This result left the bottom-placed hosts on the brink of elimination.

Jazira remain firmly in the hunt for two of three qualification spots with Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli Jeddah and Al Gharafa – whom they meet next in Doha on April 3.

Al Wasl 0-1 Persepolis

Al Wasl’s return to the AFC Champions League after a decade away was guaranteed to end in the group stage thanks to Kamal Kamyabinia’s lone goal for Iran’s Persepolis on Tuesday.

Kamyabinia’s 37th-minute header inflicted a fourth defeat from four games in Group C, leaving the Cheetahs to lick their wounds.

Rodolfo Arruabarrena’s men next travel to Qatar to face Xavi’s Al Sadd on April 2 knowing they cannot progress.

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