Iran's Sepahan have been stripped of a vital AFC Champions League win and handed a 3-0 forfeit for fielding an ineligible player in the competition's quarter-finals.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) erased Sepahan's 1-0 first-leg victory over Qatar's Al Sadd and replaced it with a 3-0 defeat late on Monday. The teams will play the second leg in Doha on Wednesday.
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Sepahan were hit with the sanction for fielding goalkeeper Rahman Ahmadi, who received two yellow cards in separate group games while playing for their Iranian rivals Piroozi before switching clubs in the summer transfer window.
The AFC said Ahmadi should have served a one-match suspension for the quarter-final's first leg on September 14, and will now be banned for Wednesday's second leg. Sepahan were also handed a US$1,000 fine.
"The (disciplinary) committee adjudged that Rahman Ahmadi of Sepahan should have served a suspension in the match after receiving two yellow cards during the group stage of the AFC Champions League 2011 when he played for Piroozi of Iran," a statement said.
Sepahan have three days to appeal the decision, which gives them an uphill battle to reach their second continental semi-final after finishing runners-up in 2007.