Iran’s Tractor Sazi knocked out of AFC Champions League

Iranian professional soccer club Tractor Sazi Tabriz, also known as Tractor, has had to pull out of the 2016 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League even though it captured a victory over Al Nasr of the United Arab Emirates in the second leg of its round of 16 meeting.

On Tuesday evening, Tractor footballers started the match at the multi-purpose Yadegar-e-Emam Stadium in the home city of Tabriz, located 528 kilometers (328 miles) northwest of the capital, Tehran, and sought to go almost in front and net the opener.

Al Nasr players, though, seized a golden opportunity in the 16th minute and availed themselves of hesitation exhibited by Tractor’s defenders, passing the ball to 25-year-old striker Salem Saleh Mussallam Salem al-Rejaibi.

Rejaibi wasted no time to calmly put the ball past Tractor’s goalkeeper Mohammadreza Akhbari to put the visitors 1-0 ahead.

This photo shows a view of the round of 16 match of the 2016 AFC Champions League between Tractor Sazi Tabriz of Iran (players in red) and Al Nasr of the United Arab Emirates at Yadegar-e-Emam Stadium in Tabriz, northwestern Iran, on May 24, 2016. © Tasnim news agency

The hosts had a vast array of scoring chances later in the game though they squandered the opportunities and failed to tack the equalizer.

After the break, the red-clad Tractor footballers played with more vigor and valor, and heaped pressure on the opponents’ goalpost. Forward Farzad Hatami brought the score level at 1-1 just two minutes into the second period, and enlightened the Tabriz-based club’s hopes.

Tractor soccer players then endeavored to extend their lead and vice captain Mohammad Iranpourian doubled the hosts’ second goal of the match in the 61st minute. Hatami scored Tractor’s third goal eight minutes afterward.

Even though Tractor triumphed 3-1 in the last-16 second leg, it still went down 5-4 on aggregate goal difference and could not secure a place among the eight best teams of the ongoing AFC Champions League.

By Press TV