Tehran – The knockout phase of the 2017 Asian Champions League began on 22 May at a packed Azadi Stadium as Esteghlal hosted Emirati club Al-Ain.
It was a tight tense match and both teams would eventually be reduced to ten men to due dangerous play and questionable officiating.
Al-Ain defender Saeed Jumaa was sent off for a dangerous foul committed on Mohsen Karimi in the 77th minute.
Eight minutes later Esteghlal midfielder Farshid Esmaeili was sent off after he appeared to bump into Brazilian midfielder Ciao.
In the dying minutes it appeared as if the match would end scoreless but a ball sent in by Esteghlal right back Khosro Heidari bounced off the hand of Al-Ain defender Mohamed Ahmed.
A penalty kick was awarded by the referee and Kaveh Rezaei slotted the ball past keeper Khalid Eisa to give Esteghlal a huge 1-0 victory.
The return leg between Esteghlal and Al-Ain will be played on 29 May at Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium.