The Tehran giants set up a Round of 16 clash with fellow Iranians Sepahan after a comfortable victory in Uzbekistan, while Nasaf bowed out without a winTehran giants Esteghlal have qualified for the final 16 of the AFC Champions League after a routine 2-0 triumph away to Nasaf Qarshi on Wednesday secured second spot in Group A.
Esteghlal knew a draw would be enough to seal the passage into the last 16, while the Uzbek debutants had only pride to play for, with their eliminated assured as they had just one point to date in the competition.
However goals from Goran Jerkovic and Mojtaba Jabbari eased the Blues into the knockout stage, although the hosts were left to lament a host of wasted opportunities as they were given a lesson in clinical finishing.
Despite sitting bottom of the group it was Nasaf who started the brighter of the two sides, with the lively Kenja Turayev finding space on the right side of the box, before cannoning a driven shot into the upright.
Only two minutes later, though, Esteghlal went ahead when Khosro Heydari darted forward before playing in Jerkovic inside the box and he coolly slid his shot past Nasaf keeper Murotjon Zukhurov for the opener.
Nasaf again rallied with Ilkhom Yusunov's lofted pass finding Turayev inside the box, and he brought the ball down well before his volleyed effort was thwarted smartly by opposition keeper Mehdi Rahmati.
Fozil Musaev's deflected effort on 28 minutes forced another save from Rahmati, while late in the half Djakhongir Jiamurodov drove a shot over the bar.
Shortly after the break Esteghlal reaffirmed control of the contest when Jiamurodov committed a foul inside the box, earning the visitors a spotkick. Star attacking midfielder Jabbari stepped up and fired down the middle for a 2-0 lead on 50 minutes.
Latvia international Andrejs Pereplotkins headed wide from close range, while Esteghlal worked mainly on the counter-attack as the game petered out.
Nasaf almost grabbed an 88th-minute consolation when Yusunov's left-wing cross went past a host of players to reach substitute Nosirbek Otakuziyev at the back post but he somehow failed to make contact with the goal at his mercy.