Al Nassr of the Saudi Pro League accomplished a late comeback to earn a spot in the Asian Champions’ League group stage draw.The win featured Anderson Talisca, who scored twice in a 4-2 victory over Shabab Al Ahli of the United Arab Emirates in Riyadh on Tuesday.
An 11th-minute lead was given to Al Nassr by Talisca when he headed in Marcelo Brozovic’s corner. However, goals in the 18th and 46th minutes from Yahya Al Ghassani put the 2015 runners-up ahead, putting the big-spending Saudis at risk of exiting the competition.
In the 88th minute, Sultan Al Ghannam’s header leveled the scores, and Talisca nodded in his second in the fifth minute of injury time to put Al Nassr back in front. Brozovic sealed the win two minutes later with a low strike from the edge of the penalty area, all but confirming Al Nassr’s place in Thursday’s draw.
The squad of Al-Nassr also saw an addition with the arrival of Portugal midfielder Otavio from Porto. Reportedly, the Saudi team will pay a transfer fee of 60 million euros ($65.08 million) for the midfielder.
Otavio, aged 28, scored 31 goals in 283 games in all competitions for Porto after joining the team in 2014.
Additionally, Uzbekistan’s Navbahor advanced to the next round with a 1-0 win over 10-man Al Wakrah from Qatar. Doniyor Abdumannopov scored the game’s only goal eight minutes into extra time after Khaled Youssef Shurrab was sent off.
Sharjah from the United Arab Emirates, who defeated their Iranian hosts Tractor FC 3-1 in Tabriz, will join Navbahor in the draw. Cosmin Olaroiu’s side secured a two-goal lead through Shaheen Abdalla and Ousmane Camara. With four minutes left, Mehdi Hashemnejad scored to restore parity, but Caio Lucas’ last-second penalty put the outcome beyond question.
After Ruben Sanchez’s goal gave AGMK, also from Uzbekistan, a 1-0 victory over Qatari team Al Arabi in the 69th minute, the group stage starting lineup was complete.