Esteghlal 1-2 Al Jazira
Al Jazira made it three wins out of three in Group A and handed Esteghlal their first ever home defeat in the AFC Champions League with a smash-and-grab 2-1 victory over the Iranian side at the Azadi Stadium on Tuesday.
Juma Abdulla's header gave the United Arab Emirates side an early lead but Ferydoon Zandi got a deserved equaliser for the home team when his long-range effort was deflected into the net in the 68th minute.
But just when the hosts looked as though they would go on to win the match, they were caught on the break 18 minutes from time when Ricardo Oliveira rounded goalkeeper Mehdi Rahmati and laid on the easiest of chances for his Brazilian compatriot Bare (Jader Volnei Spindler) to finish.
The win sent the Abu Dhabi club five points clear of Esteghlal at the top of the group and put them in a good position to become the first UAE club to qualify for the knockout stage since 2007.
Esteghlal had not been beaten in 12 previous home matches in the competition and they came out strongly at the start with Arash Borhani denied in a one-on-one situation by goalkeeper Ali Khaseif in the first two minutes.
But the Tehran side found themselves behind after only six minutes. Matias Delgado swung in a free-kick from the left flank and Juma Abdulla rose above the Esteghlal defence to head past Rahmati, who had come well off his line but failed to get near the ball.
Despite Esteghlal's dominance, Al Jazira could have added to their lead on the half-hour as Bare turned in the box and crashed a powerful shot against the post.
Five minutes later, Jlloyd Samuel picked out Borhani with a delightful long pass but the Esteghlal striker was denied once again by Khaseif, who bravely stood his ground to block his powerful shot.
The hosts piled on the pressure after the break with Esmaeil Sharifat firing wide from close range in the 55th minute and Borhani's shot on the turn hitting the outside of the post shortly afterwards.
Sharifat put another header just wide in the 65th minute but the pressure finally paid off three minutes later when Zandi's speculative shot from 30 metres took a deflection off Juma Abdulla which wrong-footed Khaseif and rolled into the opposite side of the net.
The goal should have been the cue for Esteghlal to push for the winner but it was the visitors who would score again, completely against the run of play.
Rahmati came out of his box in a vain attempt to cut off a long pass to Oliveira but found himself trapped in no man's land when the Brazilian got to the ball first. Oliveira unselfishly squared the ball to Bare, who smashed the ball past defender Khosro Heydari with Rahmati still scrambling to get back into position.
The goal complete deflated the home side and the best effort at an equaliser that they could muster in the closing minutes was a header by Samuel that flew narrowly wide.
Al Jazira coach Caio Junior was understandably delighted with the victory, the first by a UAE club in Iran in the AFC Champions League.
"I am proud of my team, because this is the first time a team from UAE could gain a victory on Iranian soil," said the Brazilian.
"I am completely satisfied from the result. My players played as they were expected and they were loyal to the team tactics. They played very well and I congratulate them.
"Esteghlal are a very good team and I respect them as I expect to have a tough match against them in the Emirates in two weeks time. They are well organised but we worked on their strong points and we were able to contain them very well."
His opposite number, Parviz Mazloomi felt that result was an unfair reflection on the match.
"We didn't deserve this result and I think my players were a little anxious today," he said.
"We should have earned all the points but unfortunately it didn't happen for us. I don't know what else we could have done to score because we didn't take advantage of our chances at all."