El Jaish inch closer to knockout stage

 06 Apr 2016 - 8:14

El Jaish inch closer to knockout stage
Lekhwiya’s Nam Tae-hee dribbles past Al Nassr players during their AFC Champions League football match at Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha, yesterday. Lekhwiya won 4-0.




Karshi:  El Jaish are within touching distance of the AFC Champions League knockout phase after playing out a 0-0 draw with Uzbekistan’s Nasaf in Group D yesterday.
The home side edged a first half of few opportunities at Karshi Central Stadium with captain Artur Gevorkyan’s effort in the opening stages the closest they came to breaking the deadlock.
But despite controlling the game after the interval, Nasaf were unable to beat goalkeeper Khalifa Abubacar in the El Jaish goal as the Qataris remained unbeaten in the continental competition ahead of their double header with Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli while Nasaf will twice face off against Al Jazira of the United Arab Emirates as Group D is set to reach an exciting climax.
The hosts had the first effort of the game in the opening minute when Turkmenistan international Gevorkyan cut into the box from the right before lashing a low shot from the edge of the area straight at Ababacar.
El Jaish controlled much of the possession in the ensuing 30 minutes but failed to threaten the Nasaf goal with their own Uzbekistan forward, Sardor Rashidov, firing over as the half-hour mark approached.
Bakhrom Abdurakhimov then received a short ball from Erkin Baydullaev with his back to goal before turning and firing wide on the half-volley shortly after.
And as half-time neared, a mix up in the Nasaf defence between Maksud Karimov and Shukhrat Mukhammadiev almost allowed forward Abderrazzaq Hamedallah in but goalkeeper Eldorbek Suyunov was out quickly to thwart the Moroccan.
Nasaf then had the best chance of the game four minutes after the restart, but Azamat Allaniyozov’s powerful header at the back post from Saydullo Rakhmatov’s deep cross from the left went straight at Ababacar.
The home side again came close with 15 minutes remaining when Gevorkyan broke down the right and cut into the penalty area before crossing low to substitute Bobir Abdixolikov, but the El Jaish custodian was again on hand to block his near-post effort.
And the lively Turkmen’s diving header at the back post in the final five minutes was then easily gathered by Ababacar as Nasaf were unable to make their superior second-half possession count.
Meanwhile in Doha, four goals in the second half saw Lekhwiya hand Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr a 4-0 thrashing and haul the 2014/15  Qatar Stars League champions back into contention for a place in the knockout phase of the 2016 AFC Champions.
The result means the two clubs are level on five points after four games, three points adrift of leaders Zobahan, who defeated Uzbekistan’s Bunyodkor in the day’s other game in Group B.
Nam Tae-hee, Alain Dioko, Chico Flores and Mohammed Muntari all netted after a first half in which Lekhwiya twice hit the woodwork as Djamal Belmadi’s team was unable to find a way onto the scoreboard despite dominating.
With 11 minutes on the clock, Dioko sent his side-foot effort over the bar when the goal was at his mercy while Ahmed Maqsoud tried his luck from long range in the 23rd minute for Lekhwiya.
Four minutes later Ibrahim Ghaleb would have put Al Nassr in front against the run of play had he shown more composure just three yards from goal following Mohamad Hasan’s downward header.
Dioko was released into the penalty area 11 minutes before the interval as the Qataris hit on the break and the striker heeled the ball into Nam’s path, only for the Korea Republic international to see his attempt come back off the post before bouncing to safety.
Eight minutes later the Qataris were shaking the woodwork again as Dioko looked set to capitalize on Al Nassr’s failure to clear a corner, but the ball thumped against the crossbar.
Lekhwiya continued to hold the upper hand in the second half and, within four minutes of the restart, the home side finally claimed the goal their dominance deserved when Nam curled his free kick from the left towards the top corner, and Al Nassr captain Hussain Abdulghani was unable to keep the ball from crossing the line.
By the 70th minute Lekhwiya were further in front and this time it was Dioko finding the target after Ismail Mohammad broke forward before feeding the Congolese striker, who stepped inside to slot a right foot shot into the corner.
Youssef Msakni became the third Lekhwiya player to hit the woodwork as time ran down and, with five minutes remaining, Flores scored from six yards out after Mohammed Tresor’s low centre.
And substitute Muntari completed the rout three minutes from time – and just moments after coming on for Dioko – when he rounded Abdullah Al Enazi to score from close range.

The Peninsula