AFC – TEHRAN, Captain Farhad Majidi, Hashem Beikzadeh and Arash Borhani scored as Iran Pro League leaders Esteghlal secured a place in the last 16 of the AFC Champions League for a second consecutive season with a convincing 3-0 win over Qatar’s Al Rayyan at Azadi Stadium on Tuesday.
Majidi’s header in the last minute of the first half set Esteghlal on their way to a third win in Group D.
Beikzadeh doubled the home side’s advantage with 17 minutes remaining, and after Al Rayyan’s Abdulkareem Ali was sent-off, Borhani sealed the win in stoppage time.
Following a bright start from the home side, Al Rayyan goalkeeper Oumar Barry produced an acrobatic flying save to push away Majidi’s free-kick after 32 minutes.
And Majidi (pictured) should have opened the scoring five minutes later but the Esteghlal captain failed to guide his free header from the edge of the six yard area on target.
But in the last minute of the first half the Esteghlal captain did not make the same mistake twice as a short corner was played to Khosro Heidari and Majidi was on hand to direct a downward header past a helpless Barry.
And with 17 minutes remaining after Hanif Omranzadeh’s header from Mojtaba Jabari’s cross had been saved by Barry, Beikzadeh settled Esteghlal’s nerves as the midfielder swivelled just outside the six yard area before guiding the ball past an unsighted Al Rayyan goalkeeper.
Al Rayyan’s chances of a comeback took a further blow just two minutes later as Ali was shown a straight red card after clashing with Esteghlal’s Javad Nekonam.
And in stoppage time substitute Borhani surged through the heart of the Al Rayyan defence and with only Barry to beat, the striker calmly wrong-footed goalkeeper before sealing Esteghlal’s win.
Below come the match highlights from PFDCTV