AFC Champions League Review: Buriram ahead, Zob Ahan edge Esteghlal amid late drama
Zob Ahan recovered from a 90th-minute red card to score in stoppage time and secure a 1-0 first-leg advantage in their AFC Champions League last-16 tie against Esteghlal.
The home side appeared to have settled for a scoreless draw when Mohammad Nejadmahdi was dismissed for a second bookable offence late in normal time.
But they almost immediately won a spot-kick courtesy of Rouzbeh Cheshmi's handball and Giorgi Gvelesiani held his nerve to secure a handy lead heading into next week's return leg.
Zob Ahan are attempting to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2011, having lost in the final the previous year.
FULL-TIME | Zobahan FC (IRN) 1-0 Esteghlal FC (IRN)— AFC Champions League (@TheAFCCL) May 8, 2018
The away side’s unbeaten streak of 15 games in all competitions comes to an end in dramatic fashion! Both of Esteghlal’s last two defeats have come against their local rivals Zobahan!#ACL2018 #ZBHvETL pic.twitter.com/xSn21plNep
Qatari side Al Duhail are in an even stronger position following a stunning 4-2 win at Al Ain.
Djamel Belmadi's men blew away the hosts with four goals inside the opening 55 minutes, although Ahmed Khalil's header and a close-range Ibrahim Diaky finish did give Al Ain some hope of salvaging the tie.
Any comeback will have to come without the services of Brazilian winger Caio, who was shown a straight red for kicking out in stoppage time.
Buriram United are in the box seat to reach the quarter-finals for the second time in their history following a 3-2 win over Jeonbuk Motors.
Brazilian pair Edgar Silva and Diogo both netted fine goals in the space of nine second-half minutes to secure victory for the hosts, who had seen Edgar's early opener cancelled out by Ricardo Lopes' 50th-minute effort.
Jeonbuk did, however, grab a valuable second away goal when Son Jun-ho fired home at close range in the 91st minute.
FULL-TIME | Buriram United (THA) 3-2 @Jeonbuk_hyundai (KOR)— AFC Champions League (@TheAFCCL) May 8, 2018
Buriram United will take a one-goal advantage into the second leg after edging this five-goal thriller! #ACL2018 #BRRvJBM pic.twitter.com/QKeAzUONPI
Elsewhere, a 0-0 draw between Chinese Super League sides Tianjin Quanjian and Guangzhou Evergrande leaves their ambitions in the balance.
Goalkeepers Zhang Lu and Zeng Cheng were both in good form to keep the two-legged affair finely poised.