Mahdi Rajabzadeh’s tidy finish in the opening minute of the second half was enough to ensure Zobahan started their 2016 AFC Champions League campaign with a 1-0 win over Lekhwiya.
However, it could have been so different.
After only three minutes Djamal Belmadi’s side could have taken the lead but Zobahan goalkeeper Mohammad Rashid Mazaheri produced a smart save to deny Alain Dioko as he unleashed a low shot.
Half an hour later Lekhwiya were at it again as Ismail Mohamad sent his right foot shot just over the bar from well outside the penalty area.
The attacking midfielder followed that effort with another agonising miss from just six yards out as he failed to accurately direct a scissor kick.
However, after a well-timed pass from Morteza Tabrezi to Rajabzadeh the latter scored with less than a minute on the clock in the second half.
Yahya Golmohammadi’s side then managed to hang onto their slender lead for the remainder of the game to claim all three points.
This year the Crocodiles will look to emulate their AFC Champions League run in 2010 where they reached the final before losing to Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma.