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Khirbin penalty earns Al Wahda win over nine-man Al Rayyan

Michael Church
·2-min read

By Michael Church

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Al Wahda's former Asian Player of the Year Omar Khirbin netted a late penalty to secure a 1-0 win over Qatar's nine-man Al Rayyan in Group E on Friday to keep alive the Asian Champions League hopes of the United Arab Emirates club.

Khirbin struck from the spot 19 minutes from time in Goa after Franck Kom was judged to have fouled Fares Jumaa and referee Ahmed Al Ali pointed to the spot.

Kom was booked for the initial challenge and then got a second yellow card for dissent to reduce Al Rayyan to nine men.

Laurent Blanc's side had already lost Ahmed Abdul Maqsoud in first half injury time when he brought down Abdulla Anwar and the defeat means the Frenchman's team have no chance of advancing to the knockout rounds.

The win moves Al Wahda on to seven points from four games, two points behind leaders Persepolis of Iran, who face FC Goa later on Friday.

In Group B, Iranian side Tractor kept the pressure on leaders and hosts Sharjah with a 1-0 win over Iraq's Air Force Club.

Mehdi Tikdarinejad put Rasoul Khatibi's side in front with barely two minutes on the clock and Maytham Jabbar's sending off seven minutes from the end of the first half all but ended Air Force's hopes.

Tractor move to six points from four games, one behind Sharjah who take on bottom side Pakhtakor of Uzbekistan later on Friday.

Clubs in the west of Asia are playing in the group phase of this year's Asian Champions League in centralised venues across the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Only the winners of each of the 10 groups in the newly expanded competition are guaranteed to reach the next round, where they will be joined by the six best runners-up.

The eastern half of the competition is due to be played in June and July with the knockout rounds scheduled to begin in September.

(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Ken Ferris)