AFC Champions League: Seoul 2 Esteghlal 0
By Football News
Seoul took a giant leap towards the AFC Champions League final as they beat Esteghlal 2-0 in the first leg of the semi-finals on Wednesday.
The South Koreans headed into the game having knocked out Saudi Arabian side Al Ahli in the quarter-finals, with Montenegrin striker Dejan Damjanovic scoring in both legs.
And it was Damjanovic who again did the damage, the 32-year-old netting six minutes prior to half-time, before Ko Yo-Han made sure of the win early in the second half.
Esteghlal, bidding to reach the final of the competition for the fifth time in their history, made the better start to proceedings, with midfielders Javad Nekounam and Andranik Teymourian both going close as the Iranian side pushed to break the deadlock.
However, their profligacy was punished shortly before the interval, Damjanovic continuing his fine form as he nodded into the net after Esteghlal goalkeeper Mahdi Rahmati had failed to handle Mauricio Molina's header.
The hosts almost doubled their lead immediately afterwards, Colombian winger Molina firing over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
Seoul's second did arrive two minutes after the interval, though, Ko slamming past Rahmati after latching on to Yun Il-Lok's cross and easing past defender Jlloyd Samuel.
The contest became more open in the latter stages as Esteghlal tried to force a way back into the game, substitute Sergio Escudero spurning a chance to make it 3-0, before Mohammad Ghazi shot wide for the visitors.
Esteghlal continued to press forward in search of an away goal, but Choi Yong-Soo's men held on with relative ease.
Seoul will undoubtedly be favourites for their return leg in Tehran, which takes place in a week's time.