0528 GMT August 17, 2018
Iran’s Zob Ahan Isfahan beat the Indian side Aizawl 3-1 on Tuesday to secure a place at the 2018 AFC Champions League Group Stage.
The Iranian side started right on the front foot and went in front with just three minutes into the game.
Zob Ahan’s veteran Mehdi Rajabzadeh converted from the penalty spot after in-form striker Morteza Tabrizi was brought down by Chawnghlut Lalrosanga in the eighteen-yard-box.
However, Aizawl managed to grab a surprising equalizer when Andrei Ionescu’s shot from the center of the box found the bottom left corner mid-way through the first half.
Zob Ahan desperately pushed for the second goal after the interval with the best chance coming Bakhtiar Rahmani’s way but his right-footed shot hit the bar.
The Isfahan-based side eventually broke the resistance of the Indian club’s backline with seven minutes left on the clock as Tabrizi’s header on Seyed Mohammad-Reza Hosseini’s cross from right gave Zob Ahan the important lead.
The Persian Gulf Pro League side could have sealed the victory before the final whistle but Qasem Haddadifar failed to find the net on his return.
However, Zob Ahan grabbed the icing on the cake deep in the stoppage time when Tabrizi’s header again through Hosseini’s cross put the result beyond Indians’ reach.
The 3-1 victory gave the Iranian side a place in Group B of the competitions along with Qatari side Al Duhail SC, Al Wahda of the UAE and Uzbekistan’s PFC Lokomotiv.
Zob Ahan will start its campaign at the group phase away to Al Duhail on February 12.