No Way Past Persepolis Wall: AFC

No Way Past Persepolis Wall: AFC

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Ten-man Persepolis FC advanced to the AFC Champions League final for the second time in three years after overcoming Al-Nassr on penalties thanks to its defensive strength.

Seven games since kicking off against AlTaawoun on Matchday Three and still no team has been able to breach the Persepolis defense from open play. It's an astonishing record in which only penalties from Hamdallah and Al Duhail's Almoez Ali – in addition to the scorers in Saturday's shootout – have found their way past goalkeeper Lak, wrote.

While Lak deserves plenty of praise for his efforts, the defensive unit in front of him – as well as both Kamal Kamyabinia and Ahmad Noorollahi in the central midfield positions – is a well-oiled unit that remains so difficult to break down, with Al-Nassr managing just two efforts on target in 120 minutes of action.

Against a strong Al-Nassr frontline, Persepolis made 26 clearances and 22 interceptions, while the back four of Siamak Nemati, Shoja Khalilzadeh, Hossein Kanaani and Saeid Aghaei, as well as the aforementioned midfield duo, won 13 of the 15 tackles they attempted. Focus is key, and once again the Tehran side maintained it throughout.

As so often since 2017, when Persepolis reestablished itself as a force to be reckoned with in Asia, it delivered when the odds looked stacked against them, even after the late dismissal of Ehsan Pahlavan. It will now be down to an East Asian side to try and break down the Persepolis wall come December's finale.

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