TEHRAN (Dispatches) – Three Iranian football team Esteghlal, Persepolis and Sepahan cruise past their rivals in the 2020 AFC Champions League.
Three first-half headers helped Iran’s Persepolis football team to a 4-0 win over Sharjah of the UAE and a place in the 2020 AFC Champions League Round of 16 from Group C on Thursday.
Persepolis came racing out of the blocks and within two minutes they were in front after Ehsan Pahlevan displayed great skill to get past two players down the left and cross for Shojae Khalilzadeh who headed home his second goal of the campaign.
Three minutes before the end of the first half, Persepolis doubled its advantage. Following an out-swinging Bashar Resan corner, Al Kasir climbed unmarked and powered in a header that clipped Adel Al Hosani’s hand and went into the back of the net despite the Sharjah goalkeeper’s best efforts.
Just as the half headed to a close, Vahid Amiri made it a trio of headed goals for Persepolis. The Iran international winger found space at the far post to head in a Pahlevan cross from the left in an identical fashion to Khalilzadeh’s opener.
With just seconds to go, Persepolis signed off with a fourth goal as substitutes Arman Ramzani and Mehdi Abdi combined with the former setting up a header that Abdi converted from inside the box to make it 4-0 at the final whistle.
Al-Taawoun’s 1-0 win over Al-Duhail in the other Group C fixture means Persepolis topped the group and will face Group D runner-up Al-Sadd in the Round of 16, while Al-Taawoun progress as runner-up and set-up an all-Saudi clash against Al-Nassr in the next round.
Esteghlal Cruises Past Al-Ahli Saudi
On Wednesday, Iran’s Esteghlal cruised into the 2020 AFC Champions League Round of 16 with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Group A leader Al Ahli Saudi FC in Matchday Six.
Head coach Majid Namjoo Motlagh’s men went into the game with the knowledge that only a two-goal margin win would secure their place in the Round of 16.
Al-Ahli advanced to the Round of 16 with six points as the first team and Iraq’s Al-Shorta finished in third place.
The Iranian dominance produced a goal in the 28th minute. Farshid Esmaeili received the ball down the left and fed Ghaedi on the edge of the box. The Esteghlal number 10 drilled a powerful drive that nestled into the bottom corner despite Al Owais’ best efforts to save.
Al-Ahli’s troubles were doubled seven minutes before the break as Ghaedi turned from scorer to creator, sending a cross from the right flank into the far post for Ali Karimi who evaded his marker and headed home Esteghlal’s second.
After the restart, Esteghlal was quick to cement its place in the Round of 16 with a third goal.
Karimi supplied a chipped cross from the edge of the penalty area for Cheick Diabate and the Malian forward guided his header past Al Owais to make it 3-0.
The result means Esteghlal finishes second behind confirmed Group A winner Al-Ahli, goal difference giving the Iranian the advantage over Al-Shorta who is consigned to a narrow group stage exit.
Sepahan Defeat Al-Sadd in 2020 ACL
And also, Sepahan football team of Iran defeated Al-Sadd of Qatar 2-1 to end its 2020 AFC Champions League on a high.
Sepahan ended their campaign in third place with seven points in Group D.
Al-Sadd finished in second place with nine points and will face the Group C winner in the Round of 16.
Reza Mirzaei and Sajad Shahbazzadeh scored for Sepahan in the 14th and 53rd minutes respectively and Hashim Ali pulled a goal back in the 82nd minute.
Al-Sadd coach Xavi made 10 changes to his starting XI that played out a 1-1 draw against Al-Nassr three days earlier, with only center-back Tarek Salman retaining his place in the team, before being swapped for Abdelkarim Hassan at half time.