Esteghlal 2-1 Al Nassr

Esteghlal ended their 2011 AFC Champions league campaign with a 2-1 victory over Al Nassr at the Azadi Stadium, but it was not sufficient to seal a place in the last 16 as they lost out to their Saudi opponents on goal difference.

Badar Al Motawa opened the scoring on the hour mark before Farhad Majidi in the 62nd and Hawar Mulla Mohammed in the 89th minutes turned the match around for Esteghlal.

In a first half low on excitement, the visitors created the first chance in the 16th minute from a counter-attack, as Al Motawa fired towards the goal but a quick reaction from keeper Mohammad Mohammadi repelled the striker's left-footed shot.

Esteghlal came close to taking the lead four minutes later. Majidi met a beautiful curling cross from the left, but a fantastic save by Abdullah Al Enezi kept the Esteghlal forward’s header out.

In the 31st minute Mohammad Ibrahim latched onto the loose ball when two Esteghlal defenders failed to clear a corner, but his shot was blocked.

Defender Amir Hossein Sadeghi's scissor kick flew past the left post in the 43rd minute before Mojtaba Jabbari's free-kick rose over the crossbar one minute before the break.

Esteghlal started the second period stronger and could have taken the lead in the 48th minute. Majidi curled in a cross for Hawar, but the Iraq international’s effort, though acrobatic, was unsuccessful.

Two minutes later Hawar's header was gathered by the keeper before Arash Borhani threatened by firing from outside box but his shot was comfortably collected by Al Enezi.

Abdullah Al Qahtani could have given Al Nassr the lead 13 minutes after the break but first-half substitute fired over the crossbar from inside the area after a speedy counter attack.

It was Al Nassr who opened the scoring two minutes later against the run of play. Al Motawa volleyed beautifully into the corner of the net leaving the Esteghlal keeper with no chance.

The hosts found the equaliser in the 62nd minute as Majidi headed home from Hawar's right-sided cross.

Mehdi Seyed Salehi could not head in from a corner shortly afterwards and then in the 77th minute he missed another chance when he messed up a scissors kick.

Majidi wasted a golden opportunity in the 82nd minute when he fired into the hands of the goalkeeper when through.

Less than a minute later Majidi fired wide but Esteghlal's efforts were rewarded just before the final whistle when Hawar cushioned a cross with his chest and netted with a brilliant left-footed strike from inside the box.


May 30, 2011 22:38


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