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Golmohammadi dedicates AFC Champions League win to Persepolis fans


Doha: Head coach Yahya Golmohammadi thanked Persepolis FC's fans after the Islamic Republic of Iran champions defeated Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr on penalties to reach the 2020 AFC Champions League final on Saturday.

Going into the semi-final clash at Jassim bin Hamad Stadium without their star striker Isa Al Kasir who was earlier suspended for six months for violating Article 58.1 of the AFC Disciplinary and Ethics Code, Persepolis came from behind to rescue a 1-1 draw before winning 5-3 on penalties.

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The 2020 AFC Champions League top scorer Abderazzak Hamdallah scored his seventh goal of the campaign from the penalty spot to put Al Nassr ahead in the 36th minute, and Medhi Abdi Qara, leading the line in Al Kasir’s absence, equalised for the Iranians six minutes later.

Goalkeeper Hamed Lak saved Maicon’s penalty and substitute Ali Shojae converted the next spot-kick to send Persepolis to the second AFC Champions League final in their history after 2018.

Semi-final: Al Nassr 1-1 Persepolis (Persepolis win 5-3 on penalties)

“Congratulations to my players who fought hard, gave everything and defended the dignity and name of our team,” said Golmohammadi.

“I would like to thank everyone who wanted us to reach the final. Overall, I am very happy with this win and I would like to present it to our fans and the Iranian people who have been going through difficult times and needed something to bring them happiness."

Persepolis had to cope with a numerical disadvantage for the last 15 minutes of the game after midfielder Ehsan Pahlavan collected his second yellow card of the night to be sent-off late in the first half of extra time.

“It is a matter of believing in ourselves and believing we could qualify for the final. We were playing against a team that played very good football, but we had overcome a lot of problems since before our arrival here and that gave us added motivation to win and be able to bring joy to our fans and the Iranian people."

This was Persepolis’ third appearance in the AFC Champions League semi-final, having lost to Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal SFC 6-2 on aggregate in 2017 and beating Qatar’s Al Sadd SC 2-1 on aggregate the following year before losing the final to Kashima Antlers.

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