Late fightback gives Sharjah share of points with Pakhtakor in AFC Champions League showdown

The result leaves Sharjah still at the top of Group B, but with Tractor FC just two points behind in second place ahead of Matchday Five with the Iranian side meeting Pakhtakor next, while Sharjah take on Iraq’s Air Force Club.

The two sides had met three days earlier, with Sharjah inflicting a heavy 4-1 defeat on their opponents, but this time things were different as Pakhtakor battled to avoid early elimination but ultimately failed to capitalise on their dominance.

Emirati keeper Adel Al Hosani was called into action early on, when Hojimat Erkinov followed up Sardor Sabirkhodjaev’s attempt and fired from inside the area, but his shot was too tame and Al Hosani gathered with ease.

Pakhtakor v Sharjah-ACL2021

The Sharjah keeper was once again his side’s saviour when Khojiakbar Alijonov received the ball on the right flank after a string of passes, and fired a stinging shot from the tightest of angles that Al Hosani did well to keep out.

The Uzbek side came close once again at the end of the first half in which they dominated, after Caio headed away a corner kick that fell to Diyor Kholmatov, the latter vollying inches wide as the first period of play drew to a close.

Pakhtakor v Sharjah-ACL2021

Alijonov had another chance shortly after play restarted when he received the ball from Erkinov at the edge of the area and cut inside, angling a shot with his left aiming to place it far from Al Hosani’s reach but his shot was wide.

Swiss striker Eren Derdiyok finally made his side’s pressure pay off when he pounced on Alijonov’s seemingly wayward shot, smashing in his first of the tournament past an unexpecting keeper.

Mohammad Khalfan equalised for Sharjah, having been on the pitch for less than two minutes as the Emirati latched onto another substitute, Abdulaziz Salem’s low cross to secure a point for his side against the run of play.

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