(IranSportsPress, AFC) Esteghlal booked their place in the 2018 AFC Champions League knock-out stage with a 2-0 win over Qatar’s Al Rayyan at Azadi Stadium on Matchday Five of Group D on Monday.
The hosts got off to a flying start and needed just four minutes to open the scoring as Server Djeparov converted a cross from Farshid Esmaeili past goalkeeper Oumar Barry. Al Rayyan captain Rodrigo Tabata attempted his luck from long distance, but his strike went wide in the 20th minute as the Qatari side intensified the pressure in an effort to find an equaliser. Esteghlal doubled their lead 13 minutes after the restart as Vouria Ghafouri stepped up to drive home from the penalty spot to make it 2-0. The result means Esteghlal are through to the Round of 16 while Al Rayyan will have to battle Al Ain for the second Group D ticket on Matchday Six in two weeks’ time.