Interview by Farrokh Hesabi

Persepolis loss against Al Hilal was logical: expert

October 18, 2021 - 19:12

TEHRAN - Reza Torabian, Iranian football expert and former Persepolis player, believes that Persepolis’ loss against Al Hilal was a logical result due to the many factors.

Persepolis suffered a 3-0 loss against Al Hilal in the 2021 AFC Champions League quarters and fell far short of expectations.

“It was a bad result. Honestly, it was predictable for me that Persepolis are not able to qualify for the semifinals of the Champions League,” Torabian said in his interview with Tehran Times.

“I think the logic of football says that Persepolis were not deserved to qualify to the next round. Persepolis didn’t have the basic preparation for this game, even in the logistic matters,” he stated.

“They had a difficult trip to Saudi Arabia before the game. Their flight was delayed by 48 hours due to logistics and visa problems. So, the team didn’t have enough time to train in the host country and recover after a difficult trip before the game against Al Hilal. These issues are related to the managers of the club and not to the head coach and players.

“Moreover, Al Hilal benefited from hosting right and playing in a stadium full of their fans. They also had some top-class and expensive players who every single one of them can lead them to the Asian title. In short, they were better players than the Iranian players,” added the former player of Belgian team Standard Liege.

Asked about tactical issues of the Persepolis match, Torabian said: “It was a strong all-around performance from the Saudi champions from the first to the last minute. They were on their best day.

“Persepolis are a proud club that have reached the final of the competition in two of the last three Champions League finals. They have also won the last five Iranian league titles. The current coaching staff and most of the current players had a brilliant run last year in domestic and continental competitions.

“However, against Al Hilal, the Reds’ players had their worst day possible. They did not perform at their usual level,” he said.  

“The elected tactic by the coaching staff was not clear. Persepolis played an open game, and it was a deadly tactic when you are trying to cope with the likes of Bafetimbi Gomis, Matheus Pereira, and Moussa Marega,” Torabian added.

“In general, I should say that Persepolis’ loss in Asia was the result of management weakness, wrong coaching decisions, and individual mistakes,” Torabian concluded.

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