Saudi Gazette report
OLMALIQ — Al Ittihad secured their fourth win in five matches by defeating AGMK FC 2-1 at the OKMK Sports Complex in Group B of the AFC Champions League 2023/24 on Monday.
AGMK, already knocked out, will play their final game in the current edition next week against Air Force Club of Iraq, while Al Ittihad will face Iran’s Sepahan on the same day.
In his inaugural AFC Champions League game, head coach Marcelo Gallardo guided Al Ittihad to a strong start. Early opportunities for Karim Benzema and Abderrazak Hamdallah were skillfully thwarted by AGMK’s Valijon Rahimov.
The scoring opened 30 minutes into the game as Al Ittihad exploited the high defensive line of Mirjalol Qosimov. Fabinho’s long ball found Hamdallah marginally onside, and the Moroccan striker adeptly buried it into the net to make the score 1-0.
Just four minutes later, Hamdallah doubled the lead, capitalizing on brilliant build-up play. Saleh Al Amri’s run down the right, combined with Muhannad Al Shanqeeti’s overlap, set up Hamdallah for a confident finish, making it 2-0.
Benzema came close to scoring late in the first half, engaging in a mesmerizing one-two with Al Amri. However, Rahimov managed to deny the Frenchman’s shot.
The second half saw Al Ittihad dominating, with numerous missed chances. Al Amri had two close calls, and Benzema’s shot at the hour mark was skillfully saved by Rahimov.
AGMK pulled one goal back in the 79th minute, as they built pressure and moved forward with a long ball into the area. Sanjar Tursunov’s shot deflected into the path of Italian forward Martin Boakye, who tapped it in to make it 2-1.
Hamdallah had a chance to seal a hat-trick late in the game, receiving a deep ball from Hassan Kadesh. However, Rahimov’s alert and well-positioned save prevented the goal, keeping AGMK in contention.
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