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Persepolis, Esteghlal Reach Knockout Stage

Reds celebrate their goal at Azadi Stadium in Tehran.Reds celebrate their goal at Azadi Stadium in Tehran.
Persepolis’ goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand kept his goal closed for the fifth time in the current campaign and sit atop the list of goalkeepers with most clean sheets at the tournament. Also Esteghlal’s keeper Seyyed Mehdi Rahmati hit his all-time record o

Persepolis and Esteghlal reached the knockout stage of the AFC Champions League as the table-toppers of their groups.
After overcoming Qatar’s Al Sadd 1-0 on Monday, Persepolis qualified for the next round as the winner of Group C, the AFC reported on its website.
Backed by a vociferous home crowd, Persepolis needed less than three minutes to go in front. Mohammed Ansari whipped in a tricky cross from the left wing and Al Sadd defender Morteza Pouraliganji inadvertently headed past his own keeper to give the Tehran giants an early lead.
Needing just a draw to finish top of the group, Al Sadd pushed forward in search of the equalizer but the attacks were not particularly effective, with only Xavi and Baghdad Bounedjah coming close to scoring in the opening half.
The visitors looked more dangerous in the second half and Boualem Khoukhi thought he had leveled the scores when he finished off Bounedjah’s cross in the 62nd minute. However, the effort was ruled out for offside.

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