Al Nahda off to a winning start

Al Nahda, the Omantel Professional League (OPL) champion, came from behind to beat Syria's Al Wahda 2-1 in their opening Group A match of the AFC Cup at the Buraimi Sports Complex on Tuesday night.

Mohammed Jaafr opened the scoring for Al Wahda after 15 minutes, only for Al Nahda's Mauritanian striker Ely Cheikh to level the scores before half-time.

With captain Salim al Shamsi netting just after the hour mark, Al Nahda joined Jordan’s Al Wehdat at the top of the table after the latter opened its campaign with an emphatic 5-1 win over Lebanon’s Salam Zgharta.

Bernardo Tavares, Al Nahda's Portuguese coach, said, “We knew how to take advantage of Al Wahda’s mistakes and we scored two goals, which were enough for us to get the three points.”

Jaafr took advantage of a mistake by Al Nahda defender Abdulkhaliq Fayil before surging into the penalty area and beating goalkeeper Sulaiman al Breiki.

Al Nahda was back on level terms four minutes before the half-time whistle as Cheikh followed up after Mansoor al Nuaimi’s penalty was saved by Al Wahda keeper Taha Mousa.

Al Nahda continued to dominate in the second half and created several scoring chances before finally completing the comeback in the 67th minute as captain Shamsi beat Al Wahda goalie Mousa from just outside the penalty area.

Al Wahda finished the game with ten men when midfielder Mahmoud Khadouj was sent off after clashing with Al Nahda's Ali al Busaidi.

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