Iranian professional football club Esteghlal Tehran has pulled off a sweeping victory in the group stage of the 2017 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League, routing Al-Taawoun of Saudi Arabia.
On Monday, the Tehran-based team, which plays in the highest level of the Iranian football league system – the Persian Gulf Pro League, outclassed the Saudi side 3-0 in a Group A match played at the multi-purpose Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in the Omani capital city of Muscat.
The Iranian sportsmen opened the match in a fairly strong fashion. They took the lead just 50 seconds into the match, with 24-year-old Kaveh Rezaei receiving the ball and firing it through a crowd of defenders from eight yards. The ball flew past Sultan Al-Ghamdi and recorded what was one of the quickest ever goal in the tournament.
After that, Esteghlal players made use of slips in Al-Taawoun’s shaky defense to obtain the possession of the ball and the pitch. They even created several chances in the remainder of the half, but lacked the cutting edge.
Esteghlal midfielder Mohsen Karimi doubled the scoreboard with 20 minutes remaining, after his teammate Jaber Ansari mishit his attempt.
In the dying moments of the match, Brazilian defender Leandro Padovani scored to seal a 3-0 victory for the Iranian giants over Al-Taawoun.
In another match of the day, Iran's Esteghlal Melli-Sanati Khuzestan Football Club, commonly known as Esteghlal Khuzestan, kept its record unblemished in Group B of the AFC Champions League.
The continental debutants from Ahvaz opened the scoring in the second minute of the fixture against Al Jazira of the United Arab Emirates at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium is in Abu Dhabi, when forward Mehdi Momeni picked up Arash Afshin’s header and laid the ball into the path of Cameroonian footballer Aloys Nong to net the winner.