Sepahan 2-1 Lekhwiya
Brazilian striker Bruno Correa scored with a minute remaining as Iran's Sepahan secured a dramatic 2-1 win over recently-crowned Qatar champions Lekhwiya in the AFC Champions League on Tuesday to maintain an unbeaten record in Group C.
Ali Afif's poacher's goal 10 minutes into the second half appeared to have earned Lekhwiya a point after defender Jalal Hosseini had opened the scoring for Sepahan after 10 minutes.
But despite the presence of both Dame Troare and Madjid Bougherra, Bruno Correa (Bruno Cesar Correa) headed home Hassan Jafari's right-wing cross to claim all three points for the home side as Sepahan moved four points clear at the top of Group C after Saudi Arabia's Al Ahli beat Al Nasr of the United Arab Emirates 2-1 in Dubai.
"From the first minute we showed that we were going to win," said Sepahan coach Zlatko Kranjcar.
"This was a very important win because we knew that it would give us a great chance to reach the next round.
"With the seven points that we have, we've taken the pressure off ourselves in the return match in Qatar and we can come back with three points."
With just 10 minutes on the clock at Foolad Shahr, Jafari was the architect of Sepahan's opener as his cross was missed by Mehdi Karimian, but fell kindly for Hosseini and the central defender gave Lekhwiya goalkeeper Baba Malick no chance as he found the top corner from just outside the penalty area.
Lekhwiya twice came close through Afif in the closing stages of the second half as the on-loan midfielder first shot wide from a promising position before Jafari cleared off the line after goalkeeper Rahman Ahmadi had only partially saved his shot.
But 10 minutes into the second half Afif, who is on loan from Al Sadd, capped an impressive display with the equaliser as the midfielder followed up after Ahmadi failed to hold Nam Tae-hee's free-kick.
Lekhwiya, though, failed to avoid a second consecutive defeat of the campaign as Correa took advantage of poor defending from the visitors to head home Jafari's cross in the 89th minute.
And Sepahan came close to extending their advantage in stoppage time, but Moharram Navidkia's shot came back off the post.
"This was our third match in the AFC Champions League and game by game we will get better," said Lekhwiya assistant coach Jean Lang.
"Sepahan are a good team and put a lot of pressure on our goal.
"This defeat has made our situation a little difficult but we will focus on our next match.
"We're only halfway through the journey and you can't predict exactly who will go through. There are three games left and a lot can still happen."