Mohannad Aseri’s header was the difference as Al Ahli Saudi FC sealed an important 1-0 away win against Tractor Sazi in their 2018 AFC Champions League Group A opener on Monday.
The Saudis suffered an early blow after defender Mohammed Al Fatil was withdrawn seven minutes into the match with an injury to be replaced with Brazilian midfielder Claudemir.
Despite Tractor’s dominance, Al Ahli were the ones to break the long-standing deadlock in the 67th minutes as Aseri headed Abdulfattah Asiri’s cross into the bottom-right corner.
The home side thought they had equalised when Sulejman Krpic beat the Saudi goalkeeper but a Mark Miligan goal-line clearance two minutes from time saved the day for Al Ahli.
Al Ahli face Al Jazira in Jeddah on Matchday 2, while Tractor will travel to Qatar to face Al Garrafa.