Branko Ivankovic hopes for comeback against Kashima Antlers

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Tehran Times – TEHRAN, Persepolis coach Branko Ivankovic says they want to score three goals against Kashima Antlers to win the AFC Champions League for the first time ever.

Persepolis will host Kashima Antlers in Tehran’s 80,000-seater Azadi Stadium on Saturday.

The Iranian giants suffered a 2-0 loss against Kashima last week and hope to secure a comeback in the second leg. Persepolis are used to getting amazing support from their fans at home.

“First, I would like to thank all reports who have participated at the news conference. It’s a great honor for Persepolis to play in the final match. Many people think we are under pressure but our hearts are full of hopes,” Ivankovic said in the pre-match news conference.

“Undoubtedly, it will be Persepolis’ biggest match in the past 30 years. We will do our best because the match is a good experience for this generation. I know that Kashima have more chance of winning the title but we have already secured big comebacks against Al Duhail and Al Jazaira,” the Croat added.

Iconic midfielder Siamak Nemati is absent against Kashima after he was shown a red card in the last moments of the first leg. Omid Alishah will also miss the match due to an ankle injury and Persepolis face shortage of players against the Japanese giants.

“In terms of theory, we are underdog against Kashima but we want to fight until the end. We want to win the title and must score three goals. Persepolis’ fans have always supported us and we want to make their dreams come true,” he stated.

“Our players deserve to win the title. We started the new season with a title at the Iran’s Super Cup. Persepolis want more and are going to win ACL, Iran league and Hazfi Cup,” Ivankovic concluded.


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