Persepolis Faces Shortage of Players: Jalal Hosseini
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Persepolis captain Jalal Hosseini believes the absence of injured defender Hossein Mahini will make things difficult in Tuesday's AFC Champions League semi-final second leg against Al Sadd, despite the 1-0 lead in the first leg.
Iran’s Persepolis will be just a game away from a first AFC Champions League final when it steps out onto the field at Azadi Stadium against Qatar's Al Sadd, but it is one who will not be in the team’s ranks that is a cause of concern.
Mahini suffered a season-ending ACL injury in a league match against city-rival Esteghlal at the end of last month, forcing Persepolis to put out a makeshift backline in the first leg against Al Sadd in Doha.
"Not having such an experienced defender as Hossein Mahini in our ranks is a major blow for our team," Persepolis skipper Hosseini told the media.
"We are already facing a shortage of players due to the transfer bans in the last two windows, so it makes things tough."
There is more positive squad news for the Iranians, though, as defender Mohammad Ansari and midfielder Kamal Kamyabinia are available for selection once again after serving one-match suspensions.
Head coach Branko Ivankovic will likewise return to the dugout after he was also suspended for the semi-final first leg.
“We defeated Al Sadd in the first meeting with a remarkable performance, but the Qatari team has professional players and will travel to Tehran to beat us,” added Hosseini.