(IranSportsPress – AFC) Tehran: A Mame Thiam hat-trick earned Esteghlal the final West Asia AFC Champions League quarter-final ticket as they defeated fellow Islamic Republic of Iran side Zobahan 3-1 in Tuesday’s second leg, securing a 3-2 aggregate win.
After a tense start, Esteghlal were awarded a penalty kick inside 11 minutes and Senegalese forward Thiam fired from the spot into the bottom left corner, taking the tie back to square one.
Hamid Bouhamdan came close to levelling the score for Zobahan in the 29th minute but his shot from the left cannoned off the woodwork.
As the first half neared its end, Thiam was on target again, this time from outside the box as he curled a left-footed effort that left goalkeeper Mohammad Rashid Mazaheri helpless to put Esteghlal in front four minutes before the break.
Thiam had more in store for Zobahan’s defenders as he took his tally in the competition to seven goals, completing his hat-trick in the 64th minute. The striker, who joined Esteghlal in February, received Server Djeparov’s pulled back pass and applied a composed finish from inside the box.
Zobahan captain Ghasem Haddadifar restored some hope for the visitors one minute later with a thunderous drive from outside the box that tricked Esteghlal goalkeeper Mehdi Rahmati. The Tehran based side held tight for the rest of the match to earn a victory on the night and joined their city rivals Persepolis in the quarter-finals.
The two Iranian sides are joined by Qatari duo Al Sadd and Al Duhail in the West Asian quarter-finals which will take place in August and September.