Iran’s Esteghlal claim spot in Asian Champions League knockout stage

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Tehran, April 3 (IANS) Esteghlal defeated Qatar’s Al Rayyan 2-0 to punch their ticket for the knockout stage of the 2018 Asian Champions League, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said on its website.

The Match Day 5 contest at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium here on Monday was for the top spot in Group D, reports Efe.

The hosts set the tone for the night when Server Djeparov took a cross from Farshid Esmaeili to beat Al Rayyan goalkeeper Oumar Barry in the 4th minute, making it 1-0 for Esteghlal.

Al Rayyan’s best chance came in the 20th minute as the visitors moved forward in pursuit of an equaliser, but captain Rodrigo Tabata’s effort from a distance missed the mark.

The Iranian side got their insurance goal in the 58th minute, when Vouria Ghafouri converted from the spot after the referee awarded a penalty for a foul in the box against Dariush Shojaein.

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Despite the loss, Al Rayyan can still secure the second Group D berth in the AFC Champions League round of 16 with a good result two weeks from now against Al Ain.

–IANS

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