Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan scored and provided an assist for UAE giants Al Ahli to waltz into the Round 16 of the Asian Champions League after spanking PFC Lokomotiv in their final Group A fixture on Tuesday night.
Goals from Salmin Khamis, Asamoah Gyan, Everton Ribeiro and an own goal from PFC Lokomotiv goalkeeper Mamur Ikramov saw the Red Knights, runners-up in 2015, swamp the side from Uzbekistan 4-0 at the Rashid Stadium.
It was Al Ahli’s 14th win overall, in the Asian competition and their ninth at home for only the second time in six appearances in the Asian top-flight competition.
The victory also extended their unbeaten run at home to 14 matches, and their record now stands at six wins and eight draws. Their last defeat at home was against Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal, a 3-2 verdict in 2010. The Red Knights topped Group A with 11 points and avoided a potential face-off against Arabian Gulf League rivals Al Ain, in the Round of 16. With Al Ain topping Group C, the Red Knights will take on Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli.
Al Ahli were without their Senegalese frontman Makhete Diop, their top scorer with four goals, because of a suspension, while Ahmed Khalil was out injured. But the Red Knights coped well in their absence.
Al Ahli enjoyed a fine first half and held sway for the majority of it. Their Brazilian playmaker Everton Ribeiro and Ismail Al Hammadi troubled the Lokomotiv backline and so did Asamoah Gyan.
The Red Knights had the first look, four minutes in, when Ismail Al Hammadi slipped through from the right and hoodwinked the defence before sending it across the goal mouth.
But the cross was a tad too long for Saeed Ahmad Abdulla.
Abdulaziz Haikal and Abdelaziz Sanqour both made attempts to score but goalkeeper Mamur Ikramov kept them at bay.
Gyan came up with a bicycle kick a little later but it just whizzed over the cross bar after Salmin Khamis had headed in Ribeiro’s corner.
The visitors could have gone ahead on 25 minutes after a defensive lapse by the Al Ahli backline but, after working a nice move along the left, Murodbek Bobojonov fluffed his lines.
Al Ahli responded with Salmin heading into goal from close range following Ribeiro’s freekick from the right.
Gyan came close to adding the second but his shot lacked venom after Ismail Al Hammadi and Ribeiro had put the move in play.
Then, Haikal’s screamer from the left was brilliantly saved by Mamur Ikramov.
At the other end, Oleg Zootev’s shot from the left was pushed over by Majed Naser.
Mamur Ikramov scored an own goal after Ismail Al Hammadi’s shot hit the left post and rebounded off Mamur’s head.
After which, the floodgates opened with Gyan and Ribeiro putting themselves on the scoresheet.
Watch video of Asamoah Gyan’s goal below