(MENAFN- Muscat Daily) Oman and Al Hilal's goalkeeper Ali al Habsi received his first-ever red card in his playing career on Tuesday for a handball as the Saudi club lost 0-1 to Iran's Esteghlal in a Group D match of the Asian Champions League (ACL) at the Seeb Sports Stadium. The match was played in Oman as a neutral venue for Iran and Saudi clubs.
Last year's runner-up Al Hilal came close to opening the scoring in the final minutes of the first half when new signing Achraf Bencharki set up Ali al Bulayhi to cut inside and strike from the edge of box, but saw his shot saved by goalkeeper Mehdi Rahmati.
Esteghlal kicked-off the second half with a bang, taking the lead through an own goal by defender Abdullah al Hafith after Mame Thiam's effort on target was deflected off the defender to wrongfoot goalkeeper Habsi just seconds after the restart.
The visitors' troubles were doubled when goalkeeper Habsi was sent off in the 67th minute after handling the ball outside his area by Japanese referee Ryuji Sato.
Esteghlal travel to the UAE to face Al Ain on March 6, while Al Hilal's next hosts Qatar's Al Rayyan.
Other West Zone results: Group A: Al Gharafa (Qatar) 3 Tractorsazi Tabriz (Iran) 0, Al Ahli (Saudi Arabia) 2 Al Jazira (UAE) 1. Group B: Al Duhail (Qatar) 3 Al Wahda (UAE) 2, Zobahan (Iran) 2 Lokomotiv (Uzbekistan) 0. Group C: Al Sadd (Qatar) 3 Persepolis (Iran) 1, FC Nasaf (Uzbekistan) 1 Al Wasl (UAE) 0.
Group D: Al Ain (UAE) 1 Al Rayyan (Qatar) 1.
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