Mohammad Panjali lauds Persepolis defensive structure

September 30, 2020 - 9:41

Tehran – Former Persepolis defender Mohammad Panjali believes that the defensive structure of Yahya Golmohammadi’s side is the main factor in Persepolis’s recent success in the 2020 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League.

The Iranian giants qualified to the competitions' knockout stage as the leaders of Group C of the AFC Champions League (ACL).

Then, they defeated Qatar’s Al Sadd 1-0 at the round of 16 clash on Sunday when Issa Alekasir struck in the dying minutes of the match to seal their place in the 2020 ACL quarter-finals.

 “We, firstly as Persepolis fans and then as a former player, always hope for the success of our team and pray for the victory of this popular team,” Panjali said in an interview with Tehran Times.

He then referred to the quality of the Persepolis side in performing defensive tactics against Al Sadd.

“Today, football is very different from the past. In the past, defending was only the job of defenders or some defensive midfielders. But, now, the defensive structure of a team is the key,” he said.

Persepolis have had an organized back four so far in the games. Hossein Kanaanizadegan has fitted seamlessly alongside Shojae Khalilzadeh in the center of defense, new signing Saeid Aghaei has also performed well at left-back, and midfielder Siamak Nemati has been redeployed at right-back.

“Golmohammaid’s side has an admirable defensive structure. In the modern football, a team that defends well and does not concede easily will succeed. In five games since the AFC Champions League resumed, Persepolis have yet to concede from open play, with Almoez Ali's penalty the only attempt to find the back of the team's net. Therefore, Persepolis team defense leaves nothing to be said,” added Panjali, who played as Persepolis defender for 15 years in two stints.

The Reds are scheduled to meet Pakhtakor on Wednesday in the AFC Champions League (west) quarter-finals at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium.

FH

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