x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Esteghlal coach furious with Al Jazira defeat

Samad Marfavi will make changes after the Iranian club miss out on a home tie in the last 16 of the Asian Champions League.

Al Jazira may have finished at the bottom of their group, but they left Samad Marfavi, the Esteghlal coach, in a rage after a 2-1 win over the Iranian club. Jazira's win brought Esteghlal's unbeaten run the 2010 AFC Champions League to an end and has probably damaged their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals. A win for the visitors would have seen them top Group A and home advantage in the round of 16, but Qatar's Al Gharafa took that spot and will meet Pakhtakor of Uzbekistan on May 11 at home. Esteghlal will have to travel to Saudi Arabia the next day for a difficult game against Al Shabab and a fuming Marfavi has promised to crack the whip before that match. "We came here to win all three points and remain as leaders and what we did was not the quality that we have shown in earlier games," he said after the match. "This result is not acceptable and I will be making a few changes to the team formation before we start the knock-out phase." In other surprising results of the final round of group matches, Saudi Arabia's Al Ittihad, the finalists last year, were eliminated after a 1-0 defeat to Zobahan of Iran and their loss allowed Bunyodkor to clinch second place in Group B with a 4-1 home win over Pro League leaders Al Wahda. "I'm happy with result, but I expect tougher matches in next rounds," Luiz Felipe Scolari, the Bunyodkor coach who will take his team to Al Hilal for the second round, told afc.com. "I'm satisfied with the win, but we played against a weak team." Kashima Antlers, the Japanese giants, were the only team to finish the group stages with a 100 per cent record and will meet the defending champions Pohang Steelers in the next round. Oswaldo Oliveira, the Antlers' coach, is expecting his side to continue playing in the same vein and take every match as a final. "I think we deserved the 100 per cent record," he said. "We played just enough to be in the position we are in, this is a result of our hard work we have put in up to now. "But we should continue to play like a final each time to produce good results. I hope we can succeed for the rest of the competition. * Compiled by Ahmed Rizvi