AFC - Giorgi Gvelesiani’s last-gasp penalty kick was the difference as Zobahan overcome fellow Iranian side Esteghlal 1-0 in the first leg of the 2018 AFC Champions League Round of 16 on Tuesday.
Esteghlal’s Farshid Esmaeili almost opened the scoring for his side 16 minutes into the first-half after he directed Server Djeparov’s cross to the right corner of the net but goalkeeper Mohammad Rashid Mazaheri was alert to make the save.
Despite having more ball possession and creating more chances, Winfried Schafer’s men were unable to use their domination wisely in the first half as the whistle signalled for the two sides to head into the break level.
Goalkeeper Mehdi Rahmati denied Zobahan their most dangerous chance in the 54th minute after making a tremendous save from Seyed Mohammad Reza Hosseini’s superb header.
Zobahan were reduced to 10 men in the final minute of regular time after Mohammad Nejadmahdi was sent off for a second bookable offence. The visitors looked to take the advantage but it was Zobahan who eventually managed to break the deadlock in the third minute of added time from the penalty spot.
Rouzbeh Cheshmi handled the ball inside the box and Gvelesiani stepped up to convert the penalty and give his side a slight advantage heading into the second leg which will take place on May 15 at Azadi Stadium in Tehran.
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