10-man Persepolis advance to AFC Champions League semis

September 12, 2017

Islamic Republic of Iran’s Persepolis booked a place in the 2017 AFC Champions League semi-final after beating Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli 3-1 (5-3 on aggregate) at Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the UAE.

Branko Ivankovic’s side will face Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal in the semi-final.

Two late penalties gave Persepolis the victory as the Iranians showed a great spirit, as they had done in their first-leg two-goal comeback, in Abu Dhabi.

Ali Alipour gave the Persepolis the lead after receiving a long pass just five minutes into the match.  

The Iranians’ fortunes suffered a blow when midfielder Kamal Kamyabinia received a straight red card after a challenge on Waleed Bakshwan in the 12th minute.

Al Ahli capitalized on their one-man advantage and grabbed an equalizer when winger Saleh Al Amri curled one in from the edge of the area in the 52nd minute.

With the 1-1 result favoring Al Ahli on away goals, Persepolis piled the pressure in pursuit of a winner and Al Ahli’s defense cracked under pressure.

First Al Ahli captain Motaz Hawsawi handled the ball in an attempt to clear off his line and the referee awarded a penalty for Persepolis and sent him off.

Substitute Godwin Mensha converted the penalty-kick to restore Persepolis’ lead and Mahdi Taremi added a second from the spot in added time to put the win beyond doubt.