Difficult Task for Al Sadd to Come Away with Result from Azadi: AFC
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – It will be a difficult task for Al Sadd of Qatar to come away with a result from Azadi Stadium in the match against Persepolis of Iran.
Persepolis looks to defend a 1-0 lead when it welcomes Al Sadd in the second leg of the West Asia semi-final of the 2018 AFC Champions League on Tuesday, the-afc.com wrote.
After successfully negotiating a tricky two legged tie in the quarter-finals against previously unbeaten Al Duhail, Persepolis found itself up against another Qatari side in the semi-final. This time, it was its group stage opponent, Al Sadd.
Branko Ivankovic's men seemed to have learnt their lesson from the 3-1 defeat against Al Sadd on Matchday Two, as they built their match plan around a sturdy defense. They ceded possession in Al Sadd's favor, and banked on efficiency instead. It proved to be a winning bet as Persepolis secured a 1-0 win despite enjoying just 33 percent of play and having only two shots on target.
Both Persepolis' shots on target in the first leg came from one source, striker Ali Alipour. The 22-year-old was the side's main attacking outlet, and with five minutes left on the clock, he broke free down the middle, outpacing his marker and rounding the goalkeeper who had no option but to bring him down inside the box.
Converting from the spot, Alipour registered his fifth strike of the campaign. Among the four semi-finalists, only Baghdad Bounedjah and Dejan Damjanovic have more goals than the Persepolis forward.
Prior to the semi-final, Al Sadd had scored 20 goals in the competition, more goals than any of the other three semi-finalists, but they failed to add to their tally at home in the first leg, the first time Jesualdo Ferreira's men fail to score at Jassim bin Hamad Stadium in the 2018 AFC Champions League, and it cost them the result.
The 2011 champion face a difficult task to come away with a result from Azadi Stadium, but they Al Sadd all too familiar with how to make it happen, having defeated Persepolis' arch rival, Esteghlal, 3-1 in Tehran in the quarter-final first leg, before settling for a 2-2 draw in Doha to advance to the next step.