Esteghlal recorded a hard-fought 1-0 victory against 2017 runners-up Al Hilal thanks to an own goal from Abdullah Al Hafith on Matchday Two of Group D of the 2018 AFC Champions League.
Al Hilal came close to opening the scoring in the final minutes of the first half when new signing Achraf Bencharki set up Ali Al Bulayhi to cut inside and strike from the edge of box, but saw his shot saved by goalkeeper Mehdi Rahmati.
Esteghlal kicked-off the second half with a bang, taking the lead through an own goal by defender Abdullah Al Hafith after Mame Thiam’s effort on target was deflected off the defender to wrongfoot goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi just seconds after the restart.
The visitors’ troubles were doubled when goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi was sent off in the 67th minute after handling the ball outside his area.
Esteghlal travel to the UAE to face Al Ain on March 6, while Al Hilal’s Matchday Three fixture sees them hosting Qatar’s Al Rayyan.