Tehran Times – TEHRAN, Persepolis missed two home points against Pakhtakor of Uzbekistan but Branko Ivankovic says he is satisfied with what his players performed in this match.
The Iranian giants came back from a goal down to salvage a 1-1 draw with Pakhtakor in the 2019 AFC Champions League Group D opener on Tuesday.
The visitors got off to a flyer, leaving the crowd at Azadi Stadium stunned as Marat Bikmaev tapped in from point-blank just five minutes into the match.
Last year’s finalists drew level in the 25th minute after Bashar Resan found Mario Budimir inside the box. The Croatian advanced and drilled one into the bottom corner of Sanjar Kuvvatov’s net.
“First, I would like to congratulate my players for their performance against Pakhtakor. According to the statistics, we were the better team but failed to score the winner. I had already said Pakhtakor are a strong team, however many people think they cannot advance to the knockout stage. My players should forget this match and concentrate on our next matches,” Ivankovic said.
“Pakhtakor take advantage of eight Uzbekistan national team players. They are second in their league and will be better in the future,” he added.
“From now on, we just think about facing Nassaji Mazandaran in Iran Professional League. Afterward, we will travel to face Al Sadd and we know that how strong they are,” Ivankovic stated.
Bikmaev’s goal was in an offside position but Adham Makhadmeh accepted the goal and Persepolis have filed a complaint against the Jordanian referee.
“It was very clear their goal was in an offside position. But it’s our destiny and we should focus on our work,” Ivankovic concluded.