Iran's Esteghlal riding rough-shod for Asian club championship

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Kuala Lumpur, March 1, IRNA -- Iran's Esteghlal, Uzbekistan's Nasaf Karsi and Korean club Anyang LG Cheetahs will join defending champions Suwon Samsung in the semifinals of this year's Asian Club Championship to be played in early April, the Asian Football Conference (AFC) said in a statement on Friday.
Esteghlal reached the semifinals of the Asian Club Championship with three late goals over a spirited Al Kuwait side whose defeat kept alive the qualification hopes of hosts Al Wahda.
Esteghlal confirmed their ticket to the semifinals in the 80th minute through rookie striker Faraz Fatemi. Alireza Nikbakht Vahedi jumped strongly to head Mohammad Navazi's corner into the path of Fatemi who struck the ball past Al Kuwait keeper Haji.
AFC said Al Kuwait had given a good account of themselves and Esteghlal's third goal was rough justice on the Arabs.
Korea's Anyang Cheetahs dramatically claimed a place in the semifinals of the Championship for the first time in their history, gaining the point they needed from a 1-1 draw with Japan's Kashima Antlers, thanks to a last minute goal from their Brazilian midfielder Andre Santos.
Defending champions Suwon Bluewings cruised into the semifinals of the Championship with a 2-0 victory over China's Dalian Shide on Thursday.
Two first half goals from Brazilian striker Sandro Cardoso clinched a comfortable victory that guaranteed the Asian Super Cup holders first place in the four-team quarter-final tournament played in the Seogwipo World Cup Stadium.
Nasaf Karsi became only the second side from Uzbekistan to reach the semifinals of the Championship following their 2-1 defeat of Al Wahda.


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