AFC – TEHRAN, Persepolis midfielder Bashar Resan is eyeing a historic AFC Champions League triumph, despite his side coming into the second leg of the final at Azadi Stadium with a two-goal deficit.
The Iranian giants held their hosts to a stalemate for the opening 45 minutes, but conceded twice in the second half, with goals from Leo Silva and Serginho consigning them to a 2-0 defeat.
However, having turned the table after losing the first leg in both the Round of 16 and the quarter-final ties, Resan believes his team can do it one more time to seal a historic victory in the second leg of the final.
“We are not happy with the result, we could have come away from Kashima with at least a draw,” the 21-year-old reflected on last week’s defeat in Kashima.
“We did very well in the first half but made mistakes in the second half and were punished with two goals. The result puts us under a great deal of pressure in the return leg here at home.”
The Tehran based club had reached the semi-finals last year before bowing out to Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal. Since then, they have overcome the loss of several key players, a transfer ban and numerous injuries to reach the 2018 final.
“Reaching the final is in itself an achievement for us, considering all that we have been through and also that financially, we are not as strong as teams from Japan, the UAE or Qatar.
“But we want to go one further and win the title; it would be historic for the club. Something fans will remember for years to come, and for me personally to win the AFC Champions League to my previous AFC Cup win would be special.”
One last challenge Persepolis will have to overcome is that of the 10,000 miles round trip they have had to travel over the past 10 days from IR Iran to Japan and back. That’s double the distance travelled by their visitors who arrived in Tehran on Thursday.
“We suffered from jetlag, our sleeping patterns were disturbed. You could see it in the first leg. We played really well in the first half but struggled physically in the second half.”
That, however, isn’t going to stop Persepolis from giving their best as they look to create history.