Qatari team breaches boycott in Asian Champions League
An eight-month boycott of Qatar by regional neighbors was breached on Monday when the Doha-based Al Gharafa club lost 3-2 at the Abu Dhabi home of Al Jazira on the first day of the Asian Champions League.
Since June, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt have severed all ties - including travel - with Qatar after accusing the country of supporting terrorism.
However, the Asian Football Confederation, which operates the 32-team tournament, said games had to be played on a home-and-away basis.
Al Gharafa fell behind after 10 minutes on Monday after a goal by Brazilian Romarinho.
Iran’s Mehdi Taremi equalized before Ali Mabkhout and Ahmed Mohamed put Al Jazira 3-1 up. Former Dutch international Wesley Sneijder scored Al Gharafa’s second with 18 minutes remaining .
There was better news for Qatari teams elsewhere as Al Duhail defeated Zob Ahan of Iran 3-1, while Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia beat Iran’s Tractor Sazi 1-0.
In Monday’s other game, Uzbekistan’s Lokomotiv Tashkent thrashed Al Wahda of the UAE 5-0.
The teams are divided into eight groups of four. The East Asian half of the competition kicks off on Tuesday.