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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Despite boycott, Saudi club Al Ahli draw in Qatar in Asian CL

Wesley Sneijder helped Al Gharafa to a draw.

Al Ahli, the first Saudi Arabian club to travel to Qatar since a regional boycott of the country began nine months ago, drew 1-1 with Al Gharafa in Doha in the Asian Champions League on Monday.

Also, Persepolis of Iran moved to the top of Group C on goal difference, and Al Sadd of Qatar lost for the first time in three group matches.

Last June, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt severed all ties -- including travel -- with Qatar after accusing the country of supporting terrorism.

Despite requests from the UAE and Saudi Arabia football bodies to play at neutral venues, the Asian Football Confederation insisted in January they play home and away as scheduled.

Al Ahli, a two-time league finalist, took the lead an hour in through Aqeel Balghaith's header.

On the verge of a third successive win in Group A, Al Ahli conceded the equaliser deep into second-half stoppage time when Wesley Sneijder's cross was headed off the post by defender Rubert Quijada, who drove home the rebound.

The unbeaten Al Ahli remained the group leaders, three points ahead of UAE club Al Jazira, who drew 0-0 with Tractor Sazi of Iran.

In Group C, first-half goals from Farshad Ahmadzadeh and Ali Alipour led Persepolis past Al Wasl 2-0 and into first place.

UAE visitors Al Wasl were handed a third consecutive defeat.

Al Sadd, the 2011 champions and missing their Spanish star Xavi, dropped their first points in Uzbekistan where they lost to Nasaf Qarshi 1-0. Azizjon Ganiev got the goal at about the hour mark.

Nasaf, Al Sadd and Persepolis were tied on points after two wins and a loss each.

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