Tehran Times – KARBALA, Zob Ahan football team of Iran earned a place at the 2019 AFC Champions League Round of 16 with a 2-2 draw against Al Zawraa of Iraq at Karbala International Stadium on Tuesday.
Zob Ahan needed one point to advance to the next round with a game to spare, while Al Zawraa’s hopes hinged on them bagging the three points at home.
Mohammad Zobeir Niknafs headed the visitors into the lead in the 28th minute. An in-swinging corner from Marion was nodded on by Mohammad Reza Hosseini for Niknafs who powered home his header at the far post to open the scoring.
Alaa Abbas levelled the score in the 44th minute.
Mohanad Abdul Raheem was on target for the Iraqi team in the 61st minute.
The home fans were left heart-broken as Zob Ahan clawed back the difference in added time. Reza Habibzadeh, who came off the bench in the 74th minute, equalized the match in the dying moments of the match.
Zob Ahan were reduced to 10 men after Milad Fakhreddini was sent off deep in added time, but Alireza Mansourian’s men held on to earn the all-important point, sending them into the next round.
Zob Ahan’s place in the last 16 is confirmed with a game to spare, as the Iranian side take their tally to 11 points. While Al Zawraa stay third with five points ahead of the final Matchday fixture against UAE’s Al Wasl.