Iran’s Persepolis Makes History by Reaching AFC Champions League Final
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Persepolis football team of Iran made history by reaching the AFC Champions League final for the first time ever in its history on Tuesday.
Persepolis was held to a 1-1 draw by Qatari giant Al Sadd in the second leg of their semi-final clash at the jam-packed Azadi Stadium in Tehran.
The result gave Persepolis a 2-1 aggregate win and a place in the Continental showpiece, where the team will face either Suwon Samsung Bluewings or Kashima Antlers.
Al Sadd broke the deadlock in the 17th minute and levelled the aggregate score. The Persepolis defense were flustered by a loose pass across them, and tournament top scorer Baghdad Bounedjah finished off a first time shot with aplomb past the outstretched arms of Alireza Beiranvand.
Persepolis responded with more urgency but were denied any clear-cut scoring opportunities thereafter. It took until the 39th minute for one to materialize, but Godwin Mensha's shot was saved by Meshaal Aissa.
The script of the game changed dramatically right after half-time break, when Persepolis scored.
In the 49th minute, Siamak Nemati volleyed in Mensha's cross from the left to make it 1-1 and put his side back in front on aggregate.
Al Sadd struggled to make inroads after Nemati's strike, having to resort to desperate attempts. In one such instance, Pedro Miguel had a go at goal from over 35 yards out but the ball bounced wide off Beiranvand's post.
Beiranvand showed his quality and kept his side in the front seat with a composed performance, which included a stunning reflex save to keep out Xavi's header in the 86th minute.
As the clock ticked on, Al Sadd pushed forward with all its strength but it was Persepolis who held on to clinch a famous result in front of its home fans.