Persepolis The 1st Asian Cup Winners Cup Champions

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    Persepolis The 1st Asian Cup Winners Cup Champions



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    The 1990–91 Asian Cup Winners' Cup was the first edition of the continental football competition for cup winners of member nations of the AFC.
    Persepolis of Iran were duly crowned champions after defeating Muharraq of Bahrain 1–0 over two legs in the final.
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    I was there for the semifinal and final in Azadi. The semifinal against Al Hilal of the 8-0ers was the most intimidating atmosphere I've ever witnessed in a stadium with the stadium packed and cheering non stop and people sitting on the stadium's walls and even the clock.
    I went to Sharif University. I'm a superior genetic mutation, an improvement on the existing mediocre stock.
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    How did Muharraq!!! of Bahrain!!!! get to the final

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    For the return match in Tehran I picked up Farid and his younger relative and the three of us headed to Azadi Stadium. We arrived there a couple of hours early anticipating a 3:00pm game, bought our tickets and went inside. Once inside we were informed that the game would not start until 5:00pm. I realized that the mistake was mine as I had mixed up 5:00pm and 15:00pm. As it turned out we were fortunate that I had made such a mistake even though having to sit on Azadi's concrete steps under the hot sun was extremely brutal. As time went by less and less empty seats were available and long before 5:00pm Azadi was full to its 100 thousand capacity. In spite of the lack of available seating, people continued to pour in, taking spots on the stadium wall, stadium clock and even going as far as climbing the stadium floodlights. A sponsor had distributed cardboard visors for free for the fans. It served three purposes: It advertised their product, it was red in color which gave more visible support in the stands to Persepolis, and it somewhat shaded the fans from the sun.

    We chatted with other fans around us to kill time before the game. A guy sitting behind us said he had brought a radio to listen to the game as well. We all laughed at him wondering why you would need a game report if you were sitting there watching it live. It wasn’t until the game started that we realized it was in order to identify the players on the field as the game carried on. As everyone continued chatting amongst themselves the sudden deafening din indicated that the Persepolis players were exiting the tunnel and taking the field for warmups. While Persepolis wore predominantly red uniforms apart from their white shorts, on this day (and for subsequent games) they opted for an all-red kit.

    The game started with Persepolis launching attack after attack to once again force the Al Hilal keeper into demonstrating his catlike reflexes. Midway through the 1st half Hossein Abdi challenged a Saudi player and brought him down. To the surprise of many in the stadium the ref pulled out his red card and ejected the Saudi player. It was only in the replay that it could be seen that after the two players went down the Saudi player had thrown a punch out of frustration to Abdi’s midsection. The ejection apparently had the exact opposite effect and the once porous Al Hilal defense suddenly solidified and their attacks became more and more organized and dangerous. The 1st half ended scoreless.

    In the 2nd half there were chances by both teams but only one that counted. A cross from the right met with Pious’s side volley on the far post which sent the ball back to the near post. With a Saudi player right on his back, an onrushing Persepolis player one timed a shot that kissed the back of the net and prompted him to disappear under a mountain of teammates. Amidst the cheers and celebrations many of us turned to the guy with the radio and asked who had scored to which he replied Kermani Moghaddam. The joy could have been short lived as straight from the kickoff a Saudi player took the ball and literally walked it through the entire Persepolis team only to see his final shot against Azizian go wide of the post. So relaxed was the demeanor of the Persepolis players on this play that many of us in the stadium were under the impression that the referee had not yet signaled for Al Hilal to start play and that any moment he would whistle for the ball to be brought back to the center circle. It was only when he pointed inside the box for a goal kick that it became apparent what a bullet had been dodged.

    Following the goal round after round of waves made their way around the stadium stands with seemingly every single one of the more than 100,000 fans taking part in it. The waves circulated with such intensity that as it approached our section we really felt it was gonna blow us away. Later in the game Kermani Moghaddam further celebrated his game winning shot by giving the crowd a high five after challenging a Saudi player in a 1v1 situation and then clearing the ball far into the stands, to take as much time off of the clock as possible.

    The remainder of the game continued with Al Hilal fighting for an equalizer but the steady defense of Persepolis ensured the shutout and the 1-0 victory sent them to the Final against Al Moharragh of Bahrain.

    Having defeated Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia, Persepolis had advanced to the Final of Asia’s Cup Winners Cup against Al Moharragh of Bahrain. Much like the semifinals, Persepolis had played the first leg away and earned a scoreless tie. A full Azadi Stadium awaited them for the return leg. I attended the game with Farid, Keyvan and Faramarz.

    Even though this was the Final, there seemed to be less excitement regarding the game compared to the semifinals. Perhaps it was because Saudi Arabia was a much more hated rival. Or maybe because this opponent was considered weaker and thus the result of the match was already obvious. For most it was quite puzzling how Al Moharragh made it this far. They were not a top team in Asia and certainly did not look impressive in their home game. If one didn’t know any better, they would have assumed that due to their low attendance and subdued atmosphere for the first leg that perhaps this was just a domestic league game between two lowly ranked teams.

    For the return leg once again Azadi Stadium was packed to witness what could be a continental championship for Persepolis. If Al Moharragh had a strength, it was certainly their acrobatic captain and goalkeeper. With very little attack happening by the Bahrainis it seemed like only a matter of time before Persepolis would break the deadlock. It took an entire 1st half of experimenting and failing but minutes into the 2nd half Persepolis won a free kick outside the penalty box. Ansarifard’s screaming shot nipped the keeper’s out stretched fingers and slammed under the crossbar, giving Persepolis a lead that they would never relinquish. With waves in full force amongst the crowd (although not quite with the intensity of those during the semifinal), Persepolis gradually sat back and protected their lead. In reality though it was more like simply toying with the Bahrainis by playing keepaway. Azizian was hardly ever challenged throughout the 90 minutes. Finally after a remarkable ten minutes of stoppage time, and with the fans lighting and holding up whatever pieces of flammable material that they could find to celebrate the championship, the final whistle sounded and Persepolis was crowned the first ever Asian Cup Winners Cup champion. As we left the stadium and fought traffic on our way back a girl in a car near us asked the scoreline and who had scored (presumably confident that Persepolis had won due to the overall festive mood of cars carrying red banners). When I told her it was Ansarifard, she let out a shriek and shared it with the other occupants of her car, who all reacted similarly.
    I went to Sharif University. I'm a superior genetic mutation, an improvement on the existing mediocre stock.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farhad21 View Post
    How did Muharraq!!! of Bahrain!!!! get to the final
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