Hong Kong (AFP)
Uzbek giants Bunyodkor crashed to a third successive defeat in
the Asian Champions League when they were beaten 2-0 at home by
Iran's Zobahan on Monday.
The Tashkent-based are still without a point in Group C after
suffering earlier losses to Saudi Arabia's Al Ahli and the UAE's
Al Ain, leaving them with a mountain to climb in order to secure
qualification for the next stage.
They also remain winless in their past 17 continental matches
with this result.
Goals from Jerry Bengtson and Morteza Tabrizi ensured a first win
for Zobahan as Bunyodkor failed to come up with the answers both
in attack and defence.
After a scrappy first half, the Iranians went ahead through
Honduran Bengtson, who coolly slotted past goalkeeper Murotjon
Zukhurov from the centre of the box in the 55th minute on an
assist from Mahdi Mahdipour.
Bunyodkor suffered a big blow to their chances of a revival when
forward Vadim Cemirtan was red-carded for a dangerous foul on
Danial Emaeilifar shortly after the hour mark.
Both sides struggled to score after that, but late in stoppage
time Tabrizi converted a penalty to seal the outcome after
Alisher Sanoev had committed a foul in the area.
Meanwhile, Iran's Esteghlal also won, beating another Uzbek side,
Lokomotiv Tashkent, 2-0 in Group A.
Farshid Esmaeili put Esteghlal ahead in the 37th minute with a
low shot following a corner and Ali Ghorbani consolidated their
lead in the 84th from an assist by Milad Zakipour.
The result moves Esteghlal three points clear of Lokomotiv in
Group A ahead of their return fixture in Tashkent next month.