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Saudi clubs hammer UAE rivals in ACL
By Abdullah Al-Hariri Saudi Gazette
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 22 - 04 - 2009

Shabab and Al-Ittifaq recorded big victories over their Emirati rivals Sharjah and Al-Shabab in the fourth round of the AFC Champions League on Tuesday.
At the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, Al-Shabab blanked Sharjah 5-0 to go top in Group B with 10 points, three ahead of Piroozi of Iran, which lost 5-1 to the third-placed Al-Gharafah of Qatar in Doha. Sharjah is winless with no points and two matches left.
Nasser Al-Shamarni scored a hat trick for Shabab while young striker Abdul Aziz Al-Saran scored two goals.
In the other match, Prince Tagoe also scored a hat trick as Al-Ittifaq came from behind to beat the UAE's Al-Shabab 4-1 at Al-Maktoum Stadium in Dubai.
Abdul Rahman Al-Qahtani completed the score for Al-Ittifaq while the only goal for the home team came through Brazilian Marcos Assuncao.
The victory helped the Dammam side retain its top spot in Group D with nine points. Bunyodkor of Uzbekistan, which won 1-0 over Sepahan of Iran, is second with seven points. Sepahan is third with four points and Al-Shabab is last with three.
Al-Ittifaq needs two points from its remaining two matches to secure the team's passage to the second stage of the competition.
On Wednesday, the other Saudi sides Al-Ittihad and Al-Hilal resume their campaigns against UAE teams when the Jeddah side hosts Al-Jazira while the Riyadh club takes on Al-Ahli in Dubai.
In other action in the Asian Champions League (ACL) defending champion Gamba Osaka advanced to the knockout round with a 3-0 win at Sriwijaya FC, and Japanese rival Kawasaki Frontale also qualified after beating Central Coast Mariners 2-1.
Leandro put Gamba ahead in the 30th minute and Hayato Sasaki scored in the 45th. Cho Jae-jin, who replaced Leandro, added the third in the 75th in the Group F match. Gamba has a perfect record with 12 points from four matches. Shandong Luneng, which drew 1-1 at FC Seoul, is next with seven points, followed by the Korean team with four and Indonesia's Sriwijaya with zero.
Park Yong-ho scored for Seoul in the 24th, but Cichero scored with a free header from a corner in the 80th to get the draw for Shandong.
Kawasaki Frontale advanced from Group H. Juninho headed Frontale in front in the 46th minute but Matt Simon made it 1-1 with a 59th-min volley. Renatinho then headed in the winner in the 81st after Hiroyuki Taniguchi had headed Kengo Nakamura's cross back across the face of the goal.
South Korean team Pohang Steelers also closed in on advancement from Group H after a 0-0 draw at Chinese club Tianjin Teda. Kawasaki has 10 points at the top of the group, while Pohang has six. __


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