TEHRAN (Press TV) - Iranian professional football club Esteghlal Tehran has found its place in the quarterfinals of the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League following a victory over fellow Iranian side Zob Ahan Isfahan.
Esteghlal took revenge for its last week’s Round of 16 first leg defeat as it lost 0-1 at Foolad Shahr Stadium just outside the central Iranian city of Isfahan, and beat the visitors 3-1 at Azadi Stadium in western Tehran on Tuesday evening.
Esteghlal’s 25-year-old Senegalese forward Mame Baba Thiam put the hosts in front from the spot shortly after the 10-minute mark.
Thiam scored a brace only four minutes before the interval when his stunning left-foot effort from distance put his blue-clad team 2-0 in front.
The hosts piled up pressure after the break, and Thiam completed his hat trick eighteen minutes into the second half as he was teed up by Uzbek teammate Server Djeparov.
The visiting side responded almost immediately, and Ghasem Haddadifar pulled one back.
Zob Ahan had the chance to score one more goal in the dying moments of the game as its Lebanese midfielder Rabih Ataya got a favorable opportunity. He, however, fired over at the back post.
"This is a very good win because we knew that we were better than our opponents, so we are very happy to achieve this victory,” Thiam said.
"We know we are a good team and now we have to give our maximum to get to the final,” he added.
***********The photo shows a view of the 2018 AFC Champions League Round of 16 matches between Iranian football clubs Esteghlal Tehran (players in blue) and Zob Ahan Isfahan at Azadi Stadium, western Tehran, on May 15, 2018.