Esteghlal Cruises Past Al-Ahli Saudi to Seal ACL Knockout Stage Berth

Esteghlal Cruises Past Al-Ahli Saudi to Seal ACL Knockout Stage Berth

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – 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 on Wednesday.

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.

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