Fooladshahr: Iranian football club Zob Ahan FC knocked I-League defending champions Aizawl FC out of the AFC Champions West Zone playoff round match with a 3-1 victory here at the Foolad Shahr Stadium on Tuesday.
A second-half brace from Morteza Tabrizi (83th, 90+3 minutes) and a first-half strike from Mehdi Rajabzadeh (3rd) helped the hosts beat Aizawl, for whom Romanian midfielder Andrei Ionescu restored parity in the 21st minute.
But then Tabrizi netted two late goals within the span of 10 minutes to seal qualification for Zob Ahan.
Aizawl will now be slotted directly into Group E of the AFC Cup, the second tier Asian Cup competition.
Aizawl fell behind after Chawnghlut Lalrosanga conceded a penalty in the second minute of the match fouling Tabrizi inside the box. Rajabzadeh made no mistake from the spot.
The away team then pulled one back when Ionescu shot from the centre of the box into the bottom left corner after being set up by Renthlei Laldinliana.
It was in the final ten minutes of the match that the score changed. Tabrizi met a Seyed Mohammad Reza Hosseini cross following a free kick to nod it into the bottom left corner.
Deep into stoppage time, the hosts cushioned their lead, this time Tabrizi heading in from close range with Hosseini assisting again.