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  • Ahmed Saleh

Al-Ittihad dominates AGMK with 3-0 win in AFC Champions League

JEDDAH — In the AFC Champions League Group C tournament, Al-Ittihad started off with a spectacular and flawless 3-0 victory over their Uzbekistani guest, AGMK, despite missing their renowned French player Karim Benzema.

The home team won in front of a record-breaking crowd of around 13,000 supporters at Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Stadium in Jeddah.

Although Al-Ittihad's play deteriorated in the second half, they easily defeated their Uzbekistani opponent thanks to three first-half goals from Haroun Kamara and the Brazilian Romarinho (who scored two goals).

Karim Benzema, a French star player for Al-Ittihad, was sidelined with a muscular ailment and did not play. The Portuguese team's coach, Nuno Santo, decided against playing him. Defenseman Luiz Felipe sat out the first half because he wasn't quite ready, but he came in for the second.

Al-Ittihad's coach chose to use yet another foreign player; thus, goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Muaiouf made his debut in place of the Brazilian Grohe.

Haroun Kamara scored for Al-Ittihad in the 11th minute after the Uzbekistani goalie had stopped Mohanad Al-Shanqiti's attempt. Al-Ittihad didn't allow AGMK many chances.

After a failed attempt at a goal by Moroccan Abdul Razzaq Hamdallah, the ball was returned to the penalty area, where Kamara promptly scored with a thunderous strike.

It took the Brazilian Romarinho only three minutes to put Al-Ittihad back in front, this time scoring against AGMK.

The match official consulted VAR after awarding a penalty to Al-Ittihad's Moroccan, Abdul Razzaq Hamdallah. The Brazilian Romarinho took the shot, and he put it in the back of the net, making the score 3-0 at the break.

Hamdallah got hurt and had to leave the game, and his side missed a ton of opportunities in the first half.

After taking a commanding lead in the first half, Al-Ittihad struggled to maintain that advantage in the second.

In the second game in the same group, Iran's Sepahan Isfahan and Iraq's Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya tied 2-2.

After Ali Jasim put Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya ahead in the 26th minute, Sepahan Isfahan responded four minutes later with an equalizer by Mohammad Qorbani.

Second-half scorers were both repeat performers: Mohammad Qorbani scored for Sepahan in the 67th minute, and Ali Jasim scored twice for Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya in the final three minutes.

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