Sepahan coach Zlatko Kranjcar has lauded his side after they eliminated compatriots Esteghlal from the 2012 AFC Champions League after a comprehensive 2-0 Round of 16 victory in Isfahan on Tuesday night.
First-half goals from Bruno Cesar and Mohsen Bengar settled the keenly-anticipated all-Iranian affair, with Sepahan proving far too good for the Blues who again disappointed in Asia.
“We proved that we are the best team in Iran," Kranjcar told reporters. "As well as proving that we were the dominant and better side, we also showed that we can play good football against a strong team like Esteghlal.
"I congratulate the players and our supporters for the win, and I am confident that we can get this team to an even higher level.
"We may not have played nicely in some of our recent games but we have the ability to improve day by day. Today we played good tactical football and followed all of our plans for the game."
Meanwhile, defeated Esteghlal boss Parviz Mazloumi admitted his side failed to perform.
“The game was not in our favour and we didn't play well,” he said. "We had planned to control the game in the first half but their early goal unbalanced our plans. We didn't create goalscoring opportunities.
"Sepahan were rewarded for their strong effort and determination. Their players ran a lot and all of their tactical plans were well performed.
"We didn't have anything to lose in the second half that's why I added more forwards, but Sepahan played well and achieved what they had wanted."