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Iran's Persepolis defeats Qatar's Al Sadd 2-1 on aggregate to reach AFC final


Sources: Mehr News Agency & Tehran Times

TEHRAN - Iranian Perspolis FC drew 1-1 versus Al Sadd of Qatar in the return match of the 2018 AFC Champions League semi-final on Tuesday.

Persepolis players celebrate their advance to AFC Champions League's final
(see photos of the match)

The winner of Iranian Persian Gulf League Perspolis took on Qatari Al Sadd on Tuesday in the second leg of the AFC Champions League semi-final which was held in 80,000-capacity Azadi Stadium in Tehran. The breathtaking match ended in a 1-1 draw, allowing Perspilis to advance to the final match of the AFC Champions League.

Iran's Perspolis football team

Qatar's Al Sadd football team

Perspolis had won the first leg of the match in the semi-final against Al Sadd 1-0 in Doha on October 2.

The Iranian team had reached the semi-final stage after having a comeback and beating the winner of the Qatari league Al-Duhail FC 3-1 in the second leg of quarter-final in Tehran's Azadi stadium.

In the Tuesday evening's match, although the Iranian players finished the first half behind the Qatari team 1-0, they managed to score a fateful goal in the early minutes of the second half.

After scoring their goal, the Iranian players threatened their opponent's post several times and had the chance to score more goals, but luck was on the Qatari side.

One noteworthy moment in the match was when goalkeeper Beiranvand saved Perspolis's post by repelling a shot from Al Sadd's Xavi in the last minutes of the match.

Persepolis players played their hearts out: Ivankovic

Persepolis coach Branko Ivankovic said his players played their hearts out tonight against Al Sadd.

"First, I thank Persepolis fans for their support. We showed we play for them. I would also like to thank everyone who helped us to reach the final. I congratulate our goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand but it's not fair if I don't congratulate the other players," Ivankovic said in the post-match news conference.

"Al Sadd are a strong team with great stars like Xavi and Gabi who are among the best players of the world. They had goal scoring chances but Persepolis had too. This is football and I think we fully deserved to reach the final," the Croat added.

"In my opinion, Persepolis players played their hearts out tonight against Al Sadd. When I joined Persepolis four years ago, I signed a contract with a clause about reward for winning the AFC Champions League. I am confident we can achieve what we want to achieve," he said.

Persepolis will play either Suwon Samsung Bluewings from South Korea or Japan's Kashima Antlers in the final match.

"No matter who we play against in the final match," Ivankovic concluded.

Persepolis goalkeeper made difference against Al Sadd: Jesualdo Ferreira

Al Sadd of Qatar coach Jesualdo Ferreira hailed the impact of Alireza Beiranvand as Persepolis defeated his team 2-1 on aggregate.

Persepolis goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand

"We were the better team in both legs. In the first leg we lost with a silly penalty and in the return leg we played better and made so many chances," Ferreira said in the post-match news conference.

"I think Persepolis goalkeeper made the difference. He rescued his team on several occasions," the Portuguese coach added.

"I wish Persepolis all the best in the final match. Their fans are very important to them and helped their team advance to the final," the Al Sadd coach stated.

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