AFC – DOHA, Persepolis head coach Yahya Golmohammadi was full of praise for his players following their 2-0 win over Pakhtakor in the 2020 AFC Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday.
Striker Isa Al Kasir opened the scoring for Persepolis four minutes into the second half, before adding his fourth goal of the campaign in the 66th minute to send his side into the semi-final of the competition for the third time in four years.
The 30-year-old Al Kasir arrived at Azadi Stadium over the summer from Iran Pro League minnows Sanat Naft Abadan to replace star striker Ali Alipour who had scored twice for Persepolis in the competition back in February before moving to Portuguese side Maritimo.
The club also lost IR Iran number one Alireza Beiranvand who joined Belgium’s Royal Antwerp and his replacement Hamed Lak has fitted in seamlessly, securing five clean sheets in six AFC Champions League appearances since joining from Machine Sazi. Head coach Golmohammadi expressed his delight with how the new recruits helped his team’s cause.
“It was an important match and we are happy to be in the final of West. I would like to thank the players for their devotion and hard work,” said Golmohammadi.
“Ideally, we like to have continuity in the team; to continue with the same players who won the league title with us. Unfortunately, we lost some of those players and we had to go into the market and bring in replacements. We attracted good players and those players got on well with the ones already here.
“The key thing is for them to buy into the Persepolis philosophy, to have the winning mentality and the desire to be successful here. We are all working to make Persepolis fans happy.”
Quarter-final: Persepolis FC 2-0 Pakhtakor
“We expect a tough match against Al Nassr and we hope we will play against them as good as we did this game and last game.
Pakhtakor had only conceded two goals in the competition prior to Wednesday, but the dismissal of talisman Jaloliddin Masharipov following a VAR-reviewed incident just 15 minutes into the Persepolis game was a turning point for them, according to assistant coach Pieter Huistra.
“If you speak about the game, you speak about the first 15 minutes. The red card kills off the match, especially when you then go 1-0 down,” said Huistra. https://d-15097261634057997885.ampproject.net/2009190410002/frame.html
“We tried to make substitutions and bring in new energy, but when you get yourself in the situation to get a red card, then it becomes very difficult to win this type of matches. I spoke to Masharipov after the game and, naturally, he feels responsible. He is one of the captains and stars of the team and he always wants to do well.
“If you look at the whole tournament, the players worked hard, played well and it fills me with optimism for the future.”
Persepolis face Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr on Saturday with hopes of reaching the final for the second time in their history after 2018, when they lost to Kashima Antlers of Japan.