Farrokh Hessabi

Persepolis’s path to ACL knockout stage; difficult but not impossible

September 23, 2020 - 17:10

TEHRAN - The group stage of the 2020 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League will end for Persepolis. The Iranian team have a difficult task to seal their berth in the Round of 16 with a must-win game against UAE’s Sharjah on Thursday.

Sharjah cruised to a 6-0 victory over Al Taawoun of Saudi Arabia to move above Persepolis into second place in Group C of the 2020 AFC Champions League (ACL), while on the same day, Persepolis suffered a 1-0 defeat against Qatar’s Al Duhail.

The defeat made it difficult for the Reds to book their place in the Round of 16. They need all three points in their battle against Al Sharjah because their opponent has a superior goal difference over Persepolis.

The 2018 ACL runners-up Persepolis, who clinched their fourth consecutive Iran Pro League title in July, will be looking to carry their domestic form on the Continental stage when they enter the pitch on Thursday in Doha.

The Iranian champions have already demonstrated that they can have the best performance in difficult conditions.

With a transfer ban was placed on Persepolis in 2018, the Tehran based side could find their way to the Champion League final with their marvelous shows and brave hearts.

Despite the defeat in the previous match, Yahya Golmohammadi’s men remain hopeful for qualifying. A not-so-unexpected win in their next match against Al Sharjah can put them firmly on track to secure one of the two qualification spots.

The departure of two key players, Mehdi Torabi and Ali Alipur, and the arrival of seven new players before the re-start of the 2020 AFC Champions League caused inconsistencies in the tactical plans of Persepolis. Still, the abilities of the Iranian representative are far more than the current problems of the team.

Persepolis fans, who lost their chance to support their team at home due to the coronavirus pandemic outbreak, hope that Persepolis, will make the most of their capabilities in the crucial and decisive Matchday Six.

The key to success is the team’s mindset. The quality of players that Golmohammadi has to choose from and the tactical method he chooses will play a huge role in his side's success.

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