Esteghlal’s head coach Majid Namjoo Motlagh praised his players as ‘terrific’.
The Iranian giant overpowered Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli 3-0 in a match on Wednesday night to secure its place in the AFC Champions League Round of 16.
Mehdi Ghayedi found the net in the 29th minute with a precise shot from out of the box. Ali Karimi doubled the lead for the Blues 10 minutes later and Malian striker Cheick Diabate scored the third goal with a header nine minutes into the second half.
“Esteghlal players had a terrific day and performed great,” said Namjoo Motalgh in a press conference after the match.
Pointing to the pressure on players as the matches are being held with three days interval, he said that it is necessary to focus more on the recovery of players.
With the victory, Esteghlal finished second in Group A of the event. The Iranian powerhouse will face Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor on Saturday in the Round of 16.
Meanwhile, in a report on Wednesday, the AFC website lauded the performance of the rising Iranian star Mehdi Ghayedi. “One of the standout young players in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mehdi Ghaedi is increasingly looking like the main man for Esteghlal and the 21-year-old attacking midfielder was key in his side's Matchday Six victory, scoring the opening goal and creating the second to put the Tehran team firmly in control by the interval,” reads the report.
“As the youngest player in Esteghlal's line-up Ghaedi shows maturity beyond his years, constantly demanding possession and always looking to provide the creative spark. He finished as his side's second-highest scorer in the Iranian Pro League and was the league's joint-top creator of goals, and he seems to be hitting that form on the Continent, too.”
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