Sharjah, Persepolis Look to Bounce Back from Opening Day Defeat
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – UAE Pro League champion Sharjah will host Iran Pro League winner Persepolis as both sides look to bounce back from opening day defeats in Group C of the 2020 AFC Champions League.
Sharjah was beaten 1-0 by Saudi Arabia’s Al Taawoun FC last week, while Persepolis lost to Al Duhail SC 2-0.
Returning to the competition after 16 years of absence, the Emirati champion hopes to get off the mark on Tuesday, having failed to find the back of the net in its first game. In fact, Sharjah had the lowest shooting accuracy of any team on Matchday One, with only one of its seven shots against Al Taawoun hitting the target.
Sharjah’s attacking struggles is, perhaps, not surprising; coach Abdulaziz Al Anbari’s side has failed to replace Cape Verde striker Ricardo Gomes who was offloaded to Ittihad Kalba in January. Instead, it opted to add more width with the signing of former Kashima Antlers and Al Ain winger Caio Lucas.
Despite dominating the Iran Pro League since 2017 with three consecutive titles, Persepolis’ impressive run of back-to-back AFC Champions League semi-finals in 2017 and 2018 gave way to a group-stage exit in the 2019 edition.
Over the past 12 months, the Tehran giant replaced coach Branko Ivankovic with Gabriel Calderon, but the Argentine’s reign lasted just five months before he stepped down. In came former club icon Yahya Golmohammedi with the stated objective of bouncing back to compete in the advanced stages of the AFC Champions League.
The match will be held at the Sharjah Stadium in Sharjah on Tuesday.