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AFC CUP MD4: ARBIL 2-3 AHAL FC     17/04/2015 6:56:11 PM

Doha: Younus Mahmood scored twice but it was not enough to stop 2014 AFC Cup finalists Arbil going down 3-2 to Ahal in Group C of the 2015 championship at Doha’s Saoud bin Abdulrahman Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The veteran Iraq international striker gave Arbil the lead in the 40th minute and struck again in the 64th minute but goals from Zafar Babajanov and a brace from Mamedaly Karadanov secured all three points for Ahal.

Victory moves Ahal onto seven points and level with defending champions Al Qadsia and group leaders Istiklol from Tajikistan with just two rounds of matches remaining. Arbil are bottom of the standings and are now four points adrift.

“We played an excellent match and we took advantage of our previous win against Arbil as we knew their key players,” said Ahal coach Boris Grigoryants.

“We put on a great performance throughout the match and the players had great determination to win.

“We created many scoring chances and the players concentrated in front of the goal as they scored from these chances. I believe the match is one of the best matches we have played this season and I believe we can go far in the competition.”

Mahmood gave Arbil the lead five minutes before halftime when he headed home Luay Salah’s cross but, two minutes after the restart, Ahal were level when Babajanov took advantage of a defensive error to score from close range.

Mahmood struck again in the 64th minute, slotting the ball past Nikita Gorbunov from the penalty spot after being upended in the area by Suleyman Orazov.

But Ahal continued to push and, 17 minutes from time, they were level again, with Karadanov scoring from close range – via a deflection off Arbil defender Nadim Sabag – after a cross from Annasahet Annasahedov.
Two minutes later Ahal were in front for the first time with Karadanov claiming his second, collecting a cross from Rahmet Shermetov before slotting the ball home.
“The result is really disappointing for us as we made many mistakes which gave the chance to our opponents to score three goals,” said Arbil coach Ayob Odisho.

“We didn’t have a good balance between the attack and defence and this affected us.
“We made a good start to the match but we made many mistakes afterwards and this cost us. Our opponents took advantage of their quick counterattacks to score three goals and this gave them the victory.”