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Persepolis' Golmohammadi rues lack of concentration in AFC Champions League final defeat to Ulsan Hyundai

Doha: Persepolis FC head coach Yahya Golmohammadi lamented his side’s lack of concentration after they gave up the lead to fall to a 2-1 defeat to Ulsan Hyundai FC in the 2020 AFC Champions League final on Saturday.

Striker Mehdi Abdi Qara capitalised on a mistake from Ulsan Hyundai defender Park Joo-ho to snatch the ball and put Persepolis in front in the 45th minute, but Golmohammadi’s men were caught napping a minute later as Ahmad Noorollahi conceded a penalty which saw Junior Negrao score the rebound after goalkeeper Hamed Lak saved his initial effort from the spot.

Ten minutes into the second half, Persepolis conceded a second penalty with right-back Mehdi Shiri handling a cross from the right to stop it reaching Negrao who was composed from the spot to grab Ulsan Hyundai’s winner.

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“We lost the match the moment we lost our concentration,” reflected Golmohammadi, a former Persepolis defender himself.

“We made sure we did not concede goals in any way, but we gave them two easy chances to score. I am really sad and I want to apologise to all the fans of Persepolis for our shortcomings. The players fought until the end, but we could not win."

Final: Persepolis FC 1-2 Ulsan Hyundai FC

Persepolis went into the final missing the services of their top scorer in the competition Isa Alekasir who is serving a six-month ban. Also absent on Saturday were midfielders Vahid Amiri and Ehsan Pahlevan who were both suspended for accumulation of yellow cards.

Since confirming their place in the final nearly two months earlier, Persepolis had also lost the services of experienced centre-back Shojae Khalilzadeh who moved to Qatar’s Al Rayyan SC, while winger Mehdi Torabi had swapped Azadi Stadium for Al Arabi in Qatar over the summer.

“Having replacement players is important; today, we did not have many options to come off the bench. The players we missed today like Amiri and Pahlevan had an impact and we could not replace them.

“It is very difficult. There will be difficult days ahead of us, but this is football. It would be unprofessional if this result becomes an obstacle in our way.

"We have to start our mental and psychological recovery from tomorrow and be ready to go again for the 2021 AFC Champions League and the Iran Pro League.”

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