AFC Champions League:

Sepahan runs riot against AGMK; Nassaji crashes out

Persian Gulf Pro League club Sepahan scored nine goals and had three chalked off by VAR to demolish Uzbekistan’s AGMK 9-0 on matchday four of the AFC Champions League at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium, boosting hopes of a place in the knockout phase.
Farshad Ahmadzadeh’s eighth-minute strike was the difference between the two teams at the break, before eight goals inside 34 minutes sealed the emphatic victory for the Iranian top-flight side.
Mohammad-Javad Hosseinnejad and Issa Alekasir scored a brace apiece, with Reza Asadi, Mohammad Qorbani, Ramin Rezaeian, and Shahriar Moghanlou also finding the net as Sepahan moved up to second in Group C with seven points – thanks to a superior goal difference over Iraqi side Air Force Club, which stunned group leader Al Ittihad by a 2-0 home victory earlier on Monday.
The scoreline marked the third highest margin in the history of the Asian elite clubs competition, while it saw the Iranian club bounce back from Thursday’s AFC ruling in style.
The Asian football governing body’s Disciplinary and Ethics Committee handed Sepahan a 3-0 loss against Saudi side Al Ittihad after their match was called off minutes before the kickoff at Isfahan’s Naqsh-e Jahan Stadium on October 3.
Sepahan was also fined $200,000 and banned from playing in the home venue for three matches, due to the Iranian side “displaying a military and/or political statue in the area surrounding the field,” which was labeled as the club’s failure to “act in a politically neutral manner.”
Sepahan will host Air Force Club in three weeks before playing away to Al Ittihad in the final round of the group fixtures on December 4.
Elsewhere, Nassaji Mazandaran’s quest for a place in the round of 16 came to an end with two games to spare in Group D, after a 3-1 home defeat against Uzbekistan’s Navbahor.
Igor Golban put the visiting side in front with six minutes into the contest at the Azadi Stadium, with Oston O’runov getting on the scoresheet midway through the first half to give Navbahor a two-goal cushion at half time.
O’runov all but secured the maximum points for his team with his second of the day right after the interval.
Mohammadreza Azadi’s close-range header in the 68th minute proved too little too late as Seyyed Mahdi Rahmati’s men suffered a sixth loss in seven outings across all competitions.
Nassaji remained on three points – seven adrift of Al Hilal and Navbahor – and will play for its reputation in the next two dead-rubbers – at home against India’s Mumbai City and the final-day visit to Al Hilal.


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