(IranSportsPress – AFC) Tashkent: Islom Tukhtakhujaev’s last-minute strike earned Lokomotiv a 1-1 draw against Zobahan, but the result was not enough for the hosts to progress to the knock-out stage of the 2018 AFC Champions League as Zobahan snatched the second qualification ticket from Group B.
The Uzbek side made their intentions clear from the start with constant attacking pressure. But it was Zobahan who struck first, taking advantage of spaces behind the Lokomotiv defence in the 25th minute. Mohammad Reza Hosseini skilfully controlled the ball and sent a defence-splitting through pass for Morteza Tabrizi who netted his fifth goal of the campaign.
Lokomotiv came within a whisker of scoring an equaliser four minutes later, but were denied by a heroic clearance from left-back Mohammad Sattari, who blocked Sardor Rashidov’s effort which looked destined for the back of the net.
The home side continued to attack for the remainder of the first half, but Amir Ghalenoei’s men managed to hold on to their lead until the break.
Attacks continued to flow in one direction in the second half with even more pressure from Lokomotiv. Zobahan’s defences finally crumbled in the last minute when Tukhtakhujaev’s powerful shot from a narrow angle was deflected into the back of the net for a late equaliser.
The draw was enough for Zobahan to accompany Al Duhail into the round of 16 from Group B on the back of a better head-to-head record with Lokomotiv, having won the reverse fixture 2-0. Zobahan will now face fellow Iranian side Esteghlal.