AFC – DOHA, Al Rayyan captain Rodrigo Tabata had a mixed evening as his side played out an entertaining 2-2 draw against Esteghlal at Jassim bin Hamad Stadium in Matchday One of the 2018 AFC Champions League Group D.
Two-time AFC Player of the Year Server Djeparov found space inside Al Rayyan’s box and sent a pacey cross that was deflected off Tabata and into his own net to hand Esteghlal the lead inside six minutes.
Tabata shortly made amends, sending a pinpoint delivery from a free-kick to find Abderrazzak Hamed-Allah. The Moroccan directed his header accurately to beat goalkeeper Seyed Hosseini and bring Al Rayyan level in the 18th minute.
The duo combined again 10 minutes later to turn the tie around. This time Hamed-Allah 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.
Esteghlal face Saudi champions Al Hilal on Matchday Two while Al Rayyan travel to the UAE to play Al Ain.