TEHRAN (Iran News) – Iran’s Persepolis squares off against Pakhtakor of Uzbekistan in the AFC Champions League (ACL) quarterfinals at Doha’s Jassim bin Hamad Stadium on Wednesday.
History will be made at the last-eight round as the video assistant referee (VAR) will make its debut at the Asian club competitions.
Al Nassr and Al Taawoun will go head to head earlier on Wednesday in an all-Saudi battle for the other semifinal spot.
A victory over the 12-time Uzbekistan champion will see the Iranian Reds reach the last four of the competition for the third time in four years.
Persepolis and Pakhtakor met in last season’s group phase, where the two sides settled for a 1-1 draw at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium before the Uzbek side claimed a 1-0 victory in the reverse fixture in Tashkent.
Yahya Golmohammadi’s men have been in fine form following the resumption of the competition in Qatar, winning 3-in-4 to finish on top of Group C before an 88th-minute header by Issa Alekasir gave them a 1-0 victory over one of the tournament favorites Al Sadd in the round of 16 on Sunday.
Wednesday’s game comes a day before the fifth anniversary of the death of late Persepolis skipper Hadi Norouzi – who passed away due to a heart attack at the age of 30.
“Our thoughts are with the family of Hadi Norouzi on the anniversary of his passing. The players want to put in a fight tomorrow and dedicate the win to his soul,” Golmohammadi said in the pre-match press conference.
Although his side had an “exhausting game” against Al Sadd, but the Iranian manager still believes that his players “are well motivated and in good spirits.”
“We will need to consume more energy and fight in this game, but hopefully we can win and reach the next stage.”
Pakhtakor was handed the top spot in Group B after positive coronavirus tests of several players forced Saudi club Al Hilal out of the competition.
The Central Asian side then came from a goal behind to beat the other Tehran-based side Esteghlal 2-1.
- source : Iran Daily