Breaking: ACL Group C: Esteghlal defeat 10-man Al Shorta
TEHRN – Iran’s Esteghlal cruised past 10-man Al Shorta of Iraq 3-0 on Matchday Two of the 2021 AFC Champions League Group C on Monday.
The two sides entered the game on the back of contrasting Matchday One results, with Al Shorta having lost to Al Duhail SC 2-0 while Esteghlal overpowered Al Ahli Saudi FC 5-2.
Al Shorta suffered an early blow at King Abdullah Sports City Stadium as they were reduced to 10 men after Hussam Kadhim received a straight red card for a violent challenge against Farshid Esmaeili just 11 minutes into the game.
Just as the first half looked headed to a goalless end, youngster Medhi Ghayedi produced a moment of magic. Marked by two defenders out on the left flank, the Esteghlal starlet mustered a sublime scooped pass between his markers into the path of marauding left-back Mohammad Naderi who rifled home his second goal of the campaign to send his side into the dressing room with the lead.
The Iranians doubled their tally 10 minutes after the restart as Arash Rezavand sent a defense-splitting pass to Esmaeili who controlled on the turn and powered past Taleb into the bottom corner to make it 2-0.
Malian striker Cheick Diabate made it 3-0 in the 65th minute.
With no points from their first two games, Al Shorta face Al Ahli on Matchday Three, while Esteghlal – with a perfect record – will look to extend their lead at the top of Group C when they face Al Duhail on Wednesday.