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Esfahan: Zobahan coach Mansour Ebrahimzadeh is confident his side can successfully fight on two fronts after they secured home advantage in the last 16 of the AFC Champions League with a 1-0 win over Al Ittihad at Foolad Shahr Stadium on Wednesday.

A second-half strike from Mohammad Khalatbari was enough to secure all three points for the hosts and take first place in Group B while the defeat brings an end to Al Ittihad’s campaign after Bunyodkor took second place following a 4-1 win over Al Wahda.

Zobahan will host local rivals Mes Kerman in the next round in a fortnight and with Ezbrahimzadeh’s side also battling near the top of the Iran Pro League, the Iranian coach is hopeful side can enjoy success both domestically and internationally this year.

“We have proven that we are good enough to progress to the next round of the tournament,” he said.

“We should be careful about the Pro League as well as the domestic league is not yet finished and we have to work hard in there.

“We were not good enough during the first half because we had some changes to the team and we had altered some tactics. However, I made some changes in the second half which really helped our performance become better.

“The Al Ittihad players did a good job but our players were better.”

Al Ittihad coach Enzo Trossero, meanwhile, was satisfied with the performance of his players and conceded it was always going to be tough to progress from such a difficult group.

“It was a tough game, I hope I can make the necessary changes to the team in the future to get better results,” he said.

“The fairest result would have been a draw in my opinion but Zobahan got the best from our only mistake and won the game.

“When we were drawn in Group B of the AFC Champions League at the beginning of the campaign, Al Wahda were leading in the UAE league, Zobahan were second in Iran and Bunyodkor were on top in Uzbekistan’s league, so I knew fine well that it would be a tough group for all of us.

“Defeats to Zobahan and Bunyodkor has ultimately cost us a place in the next round.”

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