Al Nassr qualify for AFC Champions League knockout phase

(Reuters) - Saudi club Al Nassr qualified for the knockout phases of the AFC Champions League on Friday after they recorded a 2-0 win over Iran’s Sepahan, whose chances of making the last 16 from Group D suffered a blow with Al Sadd’s 4-0 win over Al Ain.

Abdullah Madu and Abderazzak Hamdallah scored goals for Al Nassr while two goals from Baghdad Boundejah helped Qatar’s Al Sadd to their easy victory over Emirati side Al Ain, three days after the two teams shared a thrilling 3-3 draw.

Al Ain have been eliminated from contention with the loss.

Al Nassr have moved to 10 points in Group D, while Xavi Hernandez’s Al Sadd are on eight points, five ahead of Sepahan with two rounds of matches to play.

Iranian side Persepolis moved to the top of Group C with a goal from midfielder Bashar Resan that gave his team a 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia’s Al Taawoun.

Sharjah capitalised on Al Duhail defender Medhi Benatia’s 59th minute red card for elbowing Igor Coronado to score three late goals and storm to a 4-2 victory that opened up Group C, with all four teams still in contention.

The group stage of the western half of the continent’s premier club competition resumed in Qatar this week after a seven-month coronavirus shutdown.

Matches in the four East Asian groups resume in a hub in Malaysia in October. The final will be in Doha on Dec. 19.

Writing by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Daniel Wallis