10-Man Persepolis Edges Al-Nassr on Penalties to Seal ACL Final Berth

10-Man Persepolis Edges Al-Nassr on Penalties to Seal ACL Final Berth

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – 10-man Persepolis football club reached the final of the 2020 AFC Champions League after overcoming Al-Nassr of Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

After 120 minutes of the semi-final which ended in a 1-1 draw at Jassim bin Hamad Stadium in Doha, Qatar, the Iranian team defeated Al-Nassr 5-3 on penalties.

Persepolis goalkeeper Hamed Lak was the hero as he saved Al-Nassr's fourth spot-kick - taken by Maicon - as the Iran side advanced to its second AFC Champions League final in three years and denied Saudi Arabia's Al-Nassr a maiden appearance in the continental final.

Ten minutes from the half-time whistle, Al-Nassr was awarded a penalty after Basahr Resan brought Khalid Al Ghannam down inside the box. Abderrazzak Hamdallah stepped up confidently and chipped it into the back of the net ‘Panenka’ style for his seventh goal of the 2020 AFC Champions League.

Persepolis needed just six minutes to restore parity after Vahid Amiri dispossessed left-back Awad Khamis deep into Al-Nassr’s half and fed Resan who whipped in a cross for Mehdi Abdi who guided his header past goalkeeper Brad Jones to make it 1-1 in the 42nd minute.

Al-Nassr was dealt a blow at half-time with Khalid Al Ghannam withdrawn through injury to be replaced by Ayman Yahya.

Persepolis was reduced to 10 men in the final minute of an otherwise quiet first half of extra time as midfielder Ehsan Pahlavan received his second yellow card of the night following a challenge on Al-Nassr substitute Abdulrahman Al Dossari.

Playing with a numerical disadvantage for the remaining quarter of an hour, Persepolis showed some resilient defending in the face of an avalanche of Saudi attacks and was able to take the game to the penalty shootout.

Centre-backs Hossein Kanaani and Abdullah Madu converted from the spot then Siamak Nemati and Martinez followed suit. Milad Sarlak made it 3-2 for Persepolis and substitute Abdulrahman Al Obaid ensured the score was level after three shots each.

It was the turn of the other two center-backs; Shojae Khalilzadeh scored for Persepolis but goalkeeper Lak saved from Maicon to hand his side the advantage. Substitute Ali Shojae sealed the Iranian side’s victory with the final spot-kick to send the team into the final with a 5-3 win.

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