Soccer News of Wednesday, 4 March 2015
It took a second-half penalty from Asamoah Gyan for Al-Ain to escape with a point from their AFC Champions League bout with Naft Tehran.
Al-Ain travelled to the Iranian capital looking to kick start their continental campaign following an uninspired 0-0 home draw with Al-Shabab in their opening Group B match.
Again, Gyan’s side struggled for rhythm during a goalless first 45 and were dealt a blow just after half-time when Siamak Kooroshi gave the home side the lead.
The Emirati side responded well though and won a penalty on 58 minutes. Gyan, demonstrating his superb finishing ability and composure under pressure, stepped up to slot past Alireza Beiranvand in the home goal.
Neither side were able to find a winner as the afternoon contest wore on, despite Al-Ain shuffling the pack in search of a decider.
The 1-1 draw leaves Al-Ain with two points from their opening two games. They currently sit in third place in Group B, equal on points with Mohammed Awal’s Al-Shabab.
Next up for Gyan and his teammates are group leaders Pakhtakor, with the two sides set to meet in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on March 18.
Gyan has only recently returned to action following the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. He endured a troubled campaign, initially struggling with malaria before being injured in the quarter-final against Guinea. He returned to contest the final but struggled to make an impact before the Black Stars were defeated on penalties by Ivory Coast.