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|AFC Champions League: Persepolis and Al Hilal progress into round of 16|
In the AFC Champions League's western clubs competing in Asia, Iran's Persepolis ensured its passage to the next stage from Group D with a 3-1 win over already relegated Al Shabab of the United Arab Emirates who decided to display a much younger looking side.
Eamon Zayed gave Persepolis the lead in the 43rd minute before Mehrdad Pooladi doubled it 10 minutes later. Gholam Badamaki put the match out of reach with an injury-time goal.
For Al Shabab, it was also exciting to hear about the contract extension to coach Paulo Bonamigo. Playing in Asia for only the second time, Al Shabab have yet to win a game in this campaign, having lost all three of their away matches and drawn the two at home.
Their worst defeat came against Persepolis in Tehran when they were drubbed 6-1, but Bonamigo admitted the chance to prevent straight losses in their final Group D game was not ceased.
"I believe revenge is the wrong word to use," he said. "Our goal was to play with dignity in the Champions League and we did, we showed our personality. We've a young squad that is building so it's not about revenge, but about representing UAE football as best as we can and performing well."
Al Shabab missed the services of their talismanic Brazilian Ciel for the game due to suspension, along with defender Esam Dahi.
Saudi side Al Hilal beat Qatar's Al Gharafa 2-1 to secure the other spot in Group D. Ahmed Al Fraidi put his side up 1-0 in the 48th minute and Nawaf Alabid doubled the lead in the 65th minute. An own goal from Osama Hawsawi in the 82nd minute made it close but Al Gharafa couldn't find the equalizer.
Saudi League runner-up Al Ahli beat Iran's Sepahan 2-1 to take top spot in Group C. Both had already secured qualification.
In the other Group C encounter, the UAE's Al Nasr ended their campaign with a bit of pride, beating Qatari side Lekhwiya 2-1. Lekhwiya's Lessena Diaby gave his side the lead only for Al Nasr to strike twice in two minutes, through Amara Diane and then Humaid Abbas.