AGMK FC vs Sepahan

AFC - The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Sepahan FC picked up their first win in Group C of the AFC Champions League™ 2023/24 after a convincing 3-1 victory over Uzbekistan’s AGMK FC at OKMK Sports Complex on Monday.

Sepahan went in front through a Ramin Rezaeian corner just after the half hour before a fantastic long-range effort from Mirjakhon Mirakhmadov saw the hosts equalise in the 36th minute.

Rezaeian’s delightful free-kick put the visitors back in front early in the second half before Reza Asadi netted Sepahan’s third and final goal as the hour approached to secure all three points.

AGMK went into the game on the back of successive defeats to Al Ittihad and Air Force Club, while Sepahan were playing their first game since an opening-day draw with Air Force Club five weeks ago.

After an evenly contested first 20 minutes in which Mirakhmadov had an effort well saved by Sepahan goalkeeper Payam Niazmand, it was the visitors who had the ball in the back of the net first. Milad Zakipour’s free-kick from the right corner of the area found the bottom left corner, but the goal was overturned by VAR after Isa Alkasir was ruled offside.

There was a blow for AGMK as the half hour approached as former Uzbek international defender Vitaliy Denisov was withdrawn with an injury, before things went from bad to worse for the home team.

Rezaeian’s low effort from inside the right side of the area was pushed wide by goalkeeper Botirali Ergashev but the same player’s ensuing inswinging corner then somehow ended up in the back of the net when the AGMK custodian should have done better.

A stunning goal drew AGMK level less than five minutes later. Khurshid Giyosov split the defence with a lovely through ball to find Mirakhmadov, who, with plenty still to do, took two touches and then rocketed a left-footed strike beyond goalkeeper Niazmand from 20 yards out.

Four minutes after the interval Sepahan were back in front and this time it was Rezaeian’s turn to provide a goal of the week contender as the Iranian international curled home a beautiful free-kick from just outside the area that clipped the underside of the bar on the way in.

Rezaeian nearly added another in the 54th minute when he ran onto a lovely cross-field ball by Bryan Dabo, but Ergashev was off his line quickly to save the attacking right-back’s goalbound effort.

Sepahan’s second-half dominance continued and they scored a third in the 59th minute when Zakipour’s inch-perfect low cross from the left was tapped home at the back post by Asadi.

Asadi could have added another five minutes later but, with just the goalkeeper to beat, he side-footed his effort wide after latching onto an Alkasir through ball.

AGMK pushed to get back in the game but rarely threatened the Sepahan backline and the Iranian side held out for a comfortable win.

The two sides will face off again in the return meeting in Isfahan on November 6.